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Title: Computing Free Energy Landscapes: Application to Ni-based Electrocatalysts with Pendant Amines for H2 Production and Oxidation

A general strategy is reported for computational exploration of catalytic pathways of molecular catalysts. Our results are based on a set of linear free energy relationships derived from extensive electronic structure calculations that permit predicting the thermodynamics of intermediates, with accuracy comparable to experimental data. The approach is exemplified with the catalytic oxidation and production of H2 by [Ni(diphosphine)2]2+ electrocatalysts with pendant amines incorporated in the second coordination sphere of the metal center. The analysis focuses upon prediction of thermodynamic properties including reduction potentials, hydride donor abilities, and pKa values of both the protonated Ni center and pendant amine. It is shown that all of these chemical properties can be estimated from the knowledge of only the two redox potentials for the Ni(II)/Ni(I) and Ni(I)/Ni(0) couples of the non-protonated complex, and the pKa of the parent primary aminium ion. These three quantities are easily accessible either experimentally or theoretically. The proposed correlations reveal intimate details about the nature of the catalytic mechanism and its dependence on chemical structure and thermodynamic conditions such as applied external voltage and species concentration. This computational methodology is applied to exploration of possible catalytic pathways, identifying low and high-energy intermediates and, consequently, possibly avoiding bottlenecksmore » associated with undesirable intermediates in the catalytic reactions. We discuss how to optimize some of the critical reaction steps in order to favor catalytically more efficient intermediates. The results of this study highlight the substantial interplay between the various parameters characterizing the catalytic activity, and form the basis needed to optimize the performance of this class of catalysts.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
47453; KC0307010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: ACS Catalysis, 4(1):229-242
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory