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Title: Beyond the Active Site: The Impact of the Outer Coordination Sphere on Electrocatalysts for Hydrogen Production and Oxidation

Hydrogenase enzymes provide inspiration for investigations of molecular catalysts utilizing structural and functional mimics of the active site. However, the resulting active site mimics cannot match the combination of high rates and low overpotentials of the enzyme, suggesting that the rest of the protein scaffold, i.e., the outer coordination sphere, is necessary for the efficiency of hydrogenase. Therefore, inclusion of outer coordination sphere elements onto molecular catalysts may enable us to achieve and ultimately surpass the overall enzymatic efficiency. In an effort to identify and include the missing enzymatic features, there has been recent effort to understand the effect of outer coordination sphere elements on molecular catalysts for hydrogen oxidation and production. Our focus has been to utilize amino acid or peptide based scaffolds on an active functional mimic for hydrogen oxidation and production, [Ni(PR2NR’2)2]2+. This bottom-up approach, i.e, building an outer coordination sphere around a functional molecular catalyst, has allowed us to evaluate individual contributions to catalysis, including enhancing proton movement, concentrating substrate and introducing structural features to control reactivity. Collectively, these studies have resulted in catalysts that can operate faster, can operate at lower overpotentials, have enhanced water solubility, and/or can provide more stability to oxygen or extrememore » conditions such as strongly acidic or basic conditions than their unmodified parent complexes. Common mechanisms have yet to be defined to predictably control these processes but our growing knowledge in this area is essential for the eventual mimicry of enzymes for developing efficient molecular catalysts for practical use. This account reviews previously published work supported by the US DOE Basic Energy Sciences (BES), Physical Bioscience program, the Office of Science Early Career Research Program through the USDOE, BES, the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US DOE, Office of Science, Office of BES. Part of the research was conducted at the W.R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a national scientific user facility sponsored by U.S. DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research program located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). PNNL is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
10491b; KC0307010; KC0302010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Accounts of Chemical Research, 47(8):2621-2630
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
electrocatalysis; bioinspired; peptide catalysts; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory