Structural variations of the second- and third-row transition metal trihalides are rationalized via tight-binding band calculations and evaluation of Madelung energetic factors. The observed structure for a given metal halide is controlled by both the coordination geometry at the anion and the d electron configuration at the metal. As the polarizability of the halide increases, the M-X-M angle, in general, decreases so that three-dimensional frameworks occur for the fluorides, while layer and chain structures are found for the chlorides, bromides, and iodides. Within a particular halide system, systematic structural trends also occur as the d electron configuration changes.
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