The lowest absorption band of fac-[Re(Cl)(CO)(3)(5-NO2-phen)] encompasses two close-lying MLCT transitions. The lower one is directed to LUMO, which is heavily localized on the NO2 group. The UV-vis absorption spectrum is well accounted for by TD-DFT (G03/PBEPBE1/CPCM), provided that the solvent, MeCN, is included in the calculations. Near-UV excitation of fac-[Re(Cl)(CO)(3)(5-NO2-phen)] populates a triplet metal to ligand charge-transfer excited state, (MLCT)-M-3, that was characterized by picosecond time-resolved IR spectroscopy. Large positive shifts of the v(CO) bands upon excitation (+70 cm(-1) for the A'(1) band) signify a very large charge separation between the Re(Cl)(CO)3 unit and the 5-NO2-phen ligand. Details of the excited-state character are revealed by TD-DFT calculated changes of electron density distribution. Experimental excited-state v(CO) wavenumbers agree well with those calculated by DFT. The (MLCT)-M-3 state decays with a ca. 10 ps lifetime (in MeCN) into another transient species, that was identified by TRIR and TD-DFT calculations as an intraligand (3)n pi* excited state, whereby the electron density is excited from the NO2 oxygen lone pairs to the pi* system of 5-NO2-phen. This state is short-lived, decaying to the ground state with a similar to 30 ps lifetime. The presence of an n pi* state seems to be the main factor responsible for the lack of emission and the very short lifetimes of 3 MLCT states seen in all d(6)-metal complexes of nitro-polypyridyl ligands. Localization of the excited electron density in the lowest (MLCT)-M-3 states parallels localization of the extra electron in the reduced state that is characterized by a very small negative shift of the v(CO) IR bands (-6 cm(-1) for A'(1)) but a large downward shift of the v(s)(NO2) IR band. The Re-Cl bond is unusually stable toward reduction, whereas the Cl ligand is readily substituted upon oxidation
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