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Title: Mechanistic studies of hydrogen evolution in aqueous solution catalyzed by a tertpyridine-amine cobalt complex

The ability of cobalt-based transition metal complexes to catalyze electrochemical proton reduction to produce molecular hydrogen has resulted in a large number of mechanistic studies involving various cobalt complexes. In addition, while the basic mechanism of proton reduction promoted by cobalt species is well understood, the reactivity of certain reaction intermediates, such as CoI and CoIII–H, is still relatively unknown owing to their transient nature, especially in aqueous media. In this work we investigate the properties of intermediates produced during catalytic proton reduction in aqueous solutions promoted by the [(DPA-Bpy)Co(OH₂)]n+ (DPA-Bpy = N,N-bis(2-pyridinylmethyl)-2,20-bipyridine-6-methanamine) complex ([Co(L)(OH₂)]n+ where L is the pentadentate DPA-Bpy ligand or [Co(OH₂)]n+ as a shorthand). Experimental results based on transient pulse radiolysis and laser flash photolysis methods, together with electrochemical studies and supported by DFT calculations indicate that, while the water ligand is strongly coordinated to the metal center in the oxidation state 3+, one-electron reduction of the complex to form a CoII species results in weakening the Co–O bond. The further reduction to a CoI species leads to the loss of the aqua ligand and the formation of [CoI–VS)]⁺ (VS = vacant site). Interestingly, DFT calculations also predict the existence of a [CoI(κ⁴-L)(OH₂)]⁺ species at least transiently,more » and its formation is consistent with the experimental Pourbaix diagram. Both electrochemical and kinetics results indicate that the CoI species must undergo some structural change prior to accepting the proton, and this transformation represents the rate-determining step (RDS) in the overall formation of [CoIII–H]⁺. We propose that this RDS may originate from the slow removal of a solvent ligand in the intermediate [CoI(κ⁴-L)(OH₂)]⁺ in addition to the significant structural reorganization of the metal complex and surrounding solvent resulting in a high free energy of activation.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3]
  1. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States); Adam Mickiewicz Univ., Poznan (Poland)
  2. Univ. of Memphis, Memphis, TN (United States)
  3. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0020-1669; R&D Project: CO026; KC0304030
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Inorganic Chemistry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 54; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 0020-1669
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States