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Mechanism of Photocatalytic Hydrogen Generation by a Polypyridyl-Based Cobalt Catalyst in Aqueous Solution


Rodenberg, Alexander; Orazietti, Margherita; Probst, Benjamin; Bachmann, Cyril; Alberto, Roger; Baldridge, Kim K; Hamm, Peter (2015). Mechanism of Photocatalytic Hydrogen Generation by a Polypyridyl-Based Cobalt Catalyst in Aqueous Solution. Inorganic Chemistry, 54(2):646-657.

Abstract

The mechanism of photocatalytic hydrogen production was studied with a three-component system consisting of fac-[Re(py)(CO)(3)bipy](+) (py = pyridine, bipy = 2,2'-bipyridine) as photosensitizer, [Co(TPY-OH)(OH2)](2+) (TPY-OH = 2-bis(2-pyridyl)(hydroxy)methyl-6-pyridylpyridine), a polypyridyl-based cobalt complex, as water reduction catalyst (WRC), and triethanolamine (TEOA) as sacrificial electron donor in aqueous solution. A detailed mechanistic picture is provided, which covers all processes from excited state quenching on the time scale of a few nanoseconds to hydrogen release taking place between seconds and minutes at moderately basic reaction conditions. Altogether these processes span 9 orders of magnitude in time. The following reaction sequence was found to be the dominant pathway for hydrogen generation: After reductive quenching by TEOA, the reduced photosensitizer (PS) transfers an electron to the Co-II-WRC. Protonation of CoI yields (CoH)-H-III which is reduced in the presence of excess CoI. (CoH)-H-II releases hydrogen after a second protonation step, which is detected time-resolved by a clark-type hydrogen electrode. Aside from these productive steps, the role of side and back reactions involving TEOA-derived species is assessed, which is particularly relevant in laser flash photolysis measurements with significantly larger transient concentrations of reactive species as compared to continuous photolysis experiments. Most notable is an equilibrium reaction involving Co-I, which is explained by a nucleophilic addition of Co-I to the oxidation product of TEOA, an electrophilic iminium ion. Quantum chemical calculations indicate that the reaction is energetically feasible. The calculated spectra of the adduct are consistent with the spectroscopic observations.

Abstract

The mechanism of photocatalytic hydrogen production was studied with a three-component system consisting of fac-[Re(py)(CO)(3)bipy](+) (py = pyridine, bipy = 2,2'-bipyridine) as photosensitizer, [Co(TPY-OH)(OH2)](2+) (TPY-OH = 2-bis(2-pyridyl)(hydroxy)methyl-6-pyridylpyridine), a polypyridyl-based cobalt complex, as water reduction catalyst (WRC), and triethanolamine (TEOA) as sacrificial electron donor in aqueous solution. A detailed mechanistic picture is provided, which covers all processes from excited state quenching on the time scale of a few nanoseconds to hydrogen release taking place between seconds and minutes at moderately basic reaction conditions. Altogether these processes span 9 orders of magnitude in time. The following reaction sequence was found to be the dominant pathway for hydrogen generation: After reductive quenching by TEOA, the reduced photosensitizer (PS) transfers an electron to the Co-II-WRC. Protonation of CoI yields (CoH)-H-III which is reduced in the presence of excess CoI. (CoH)-H-II releases hydrogen after a second protonation step, which is detected time-resolved by a clark-type hydrogen electrode. Aside from these productive steps, the role of side and back reactions involving TEOA-derived species is assessed, which is particularly relevant in laser flash photolysis measurements with significantly larger transient concentrations of reactive species as compared to continuous photolysis experiments. Most notable is an equilibrium reaction involving Co-I, which is explained by a nucleophilic addition of Co-I to the oxidation product of TEOA, an electrophilic iminium ion. Quantum chemical calculations indicate that the reaction is energetically feasible. The calculated spectra of the adduct are consistent with the spectroscopic observations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:16 Sep 2015 10:46
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 14:00
Publisher:American Chemical Society (ACS)
ISSN:0020-1669
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation, University of Zurich (URPP LightChEC)
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1021/ic502591a

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