Bridging ligand

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A bridging ligand is an atom or a polyatomic entity that connects two or more metal centres in a complex.[1] In naming a complex that includes a bridging ligand, the bridging ligand is preceded by "μ."

Structure of [(η6-C6H6)2Ru2Cl2(μ-Cl)2]

Virtually all ligands are known to bridge, with the exception of amines and ammonia.[2] Particularly common bridging ligands are:

Polyfunctional ligands

Polyfunctional ligands can attach to metals in many ways and thus can bridge metals in diverse ways, including sharing of one atom or using several atoms. Examples of such polyatomic ligands are the oxoanions CO32− and the related Carboxylate, PO43−, and the polyoxometallates.


  1. International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. "bridging ligand". Compendium of Chemical Terminology Internet edition.
  2. Werner, H., "The way into the bridge: A new bonding mode of tertiary phosphanes, arsanes, and stibanes", Angewandte Chemie, International Edition, 2004, volume 43, pp 938-954.doi:10.1002/anie.200300627.