The formation of the complex through the interaction of a ligand with a transition metal cation causes the splitting of d-orbitals within the metal.
In crystal field theory, Δ is called the crystal-field splitting parameter. It is the energy gap that exists between split levels of the d-orbital.
The energy gap or Δ is dependent upon the field exerted by the ligand.
Complexes with strong field ligands have larger Δ values (i.e. longer wavelength) while compounds with weak field ligands have smaller Δ values (i.e. shorter wavelength).
The amount of crystal field splitting can be estimated using the spectrochemical series of ligands. This series ranks ligands based on their field strength.
A short version of electrochemical series is:
Which one of these complex ions would absorb light with the shortest wavelength?
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