Miller, Joel S. Department of Chemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
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The common name for a material prepared by either the addition of trivalent iron (FeIII) to ferrocyanide [Fe(CN)6]4− or FeII to ferricyanide [Fe(CN)6]3− with the composition of FeIII4[FeII(CN)6]3 · xH2O, where x ∼ 15. Prussian blue, also known as Turnbull's blue or ferric hexacyanoferrate, was discovered accidentally 300 years ago by a colonist named Diesbach of Berlin, and its structure has been determined by several diffraction methods. Prussian blue has a structure with each FeII bound to six C-bounded cyanides (CN−), while the nitrogens (N) are bonded to FeIII; thus, it has a cubic structure with FeIICNFeIII linkages along each of the edges of the cube (see illustration). Owing to the presence of more FeIII than FeII, some FeII sites are vacant and filled with water. The presence of iron in two different oxidation or valence states in Prussian blue makes it a mixed-valence compound. This gives Prussian blue its intense blue color and its application as a pigment. The reduction of Prussian blue results in the formation of Everitt's salt, K2FeII[FeII(CN6)].
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