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Title: A Proton Channel Allows a Hydrogen Oxidation Catalyst to Operate at a Moderate Overpotential with Water Acting as a Base

Proton channels facilitate the movement of protons over large distances and are critical in many reactions, from controlling proton delivery in metalloenzymes[1] to moving protons through PEM fuel cells.[2] Hydrogenases are enzymes that use proton channels to deliver protons to or from the enzyme active site to achieve high rates of hydrogen production and oxidation at low overpotentials.[3] The [Ni(PR2NR’2)2]2+ series of complexes, which are functional mimics of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase active site, utilize pendant amines to move the proton to or from the Ni, resulting in some of the fastest synthetic catalysts for hydrogen production and oxidation reported.[4] While intramolecular proton movement has been shown to be facile,[5] deprotonation of hydrogen oxidation catalysts can be a slow step for catalysis.[6] Additionally, a stable H2 adduct (endo-endo) is formed which, if bypassed, could contribute to an overall enhanced rate (Figure 1). A proton channel may aid in addressing these outstanding issues, and the well-studied nature of these catalysts allows them to serve as a platform to investigate the role of a proton channel in solving these problems. To this end we added a second proton relay to this complex, which we demonstrate serves two purposes: we show that the second protonmore » relay facilitates rapid proton transfer, altering the kinetic products formed following H2 addition, and avoiding the low energy endo-endo intermediate. It also aids in lowering the overpotential at which the catalyst operates using water as a base, demonstrating the multi-functional role of a proton channel in molecular catalysts, and possibly in enzymes. This work was supported by the US Department of Energy, Early Career Research Program, Basic Energy Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Geosciences & Biosciences Division and by the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is operated by Battelle for the US Department of Energy.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
KC0307010; KC0302010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Chemical Communications, 50(7):792-795
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
hydrogen oxidation; homogeneous catalysis; bioinspired; amino acid catalysts