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Title: Heterolytic Cleavage of Hydrogen by an Iron Hydrogenase Model: An Fe-H - - - H-N Dihydorgen Bond Characterized by Neutron Diffraction

Use of hydrogen as a fuel by [FeFe]-hydrogenase enzymes in nature requires heterolytic cleavage of the H-H bond into a proton (H+) and hydride (H-), a reaction that is also a critical step in homogeneous catalysts for hydrogenation of C=O and C=N bonds. An understanding of the catalytic oxidation of H2 by hydrogenases provides insights into the design of synthetic catalysts that are sought as cost-effective alternatives to the use of the precious metal platinum in fuel cells. Crystallographic studies on the [FeFe]-hydrogenase enzyme were critical to understanding of its reactivity, but the key H-H cleavage step is not readily observed experimentally in natural hydrogenases. Synthetic biomimics have provided evidence for H2 cleavage leading to hydride transfer to the metal and proton transfer to an amine. Limitations on the precise location of hydrogen atoms by x-ray diffraction can be overcome by use of neutron diffraction, though its use is severely limited by the difficulty of obtaining suitable crystals and by the scarcity of neutron sources. Here we show that an iron complex with a pendant amine in the diphosphine ligand cleaves hydrogen heterolytically under mild conditions, leading to [CpC5F4NFeH(PtBu2NtBu2H)]+BArF4-, [PtBu2NtBu2 = 1,5-di(tert-butyl)-3,7-di(tert-butyl)-1,5-diaza-3,7-diphosphacyclooctane; ArF = 3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]. The Fe-H- - - H-Nmore » moiety has a strong dihydrogen bond, with a remarkably short H • • • H distance of 1.489(10) Å between the protic N-Hδ+ and hydridic Fe-Hδ-. The structural data for [CpC5F4NFeH(PtBu2NtBu2H)]+ provide a glimpse of how the H-H bond is oxidized or generated in hydrogenase enzymes, with the pendant amine playing a key role as a proton relay. The iron complex [CpC5F4NFeH(PtBu2NtBu2H)]+BArF4- is an electrocatalyst for oxidation of H2 (1 atm) at 22 °C, so the structural data are obtained on a complex that is a functional model for catalysis by [FeFe]-hydrogenase enzymes. This research was supported as part of the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1433-7851; KC0307010; TRN: US1400444
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Angewandte Chemie (International Edition); Journal Volume: 53; Journal Issue: 21
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE hydrogen bonding; hydride; proton; heterolytic cleavage