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A Ru(II) Bis-terpyridine-like Complex that Catalyzes Water Oxidation: The Influence of Steric Strain

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posted on 18.02.2016, 21:49 authored by Nattawut Kaveevivitchai, Lars Kohler, Ruifa Zong, Maya El Ojaimi, Nirja Mehta, Randolph P. Thummel
The complexation of 2,9-dicarboxy-1,10-phenanthroline (DPA) with [Ru­(tpy)­Cl3] (tpy = 2,2′;6,2″-terpyridine) provides a six-coordinate species in which one carboxyl group of DPA is not bound to the Ru­(II) center. A more soluble tri-t-butyl tpy analogue is also prepared. Upon oxidation, neither species shows evidence for intramolecular trapping of a seven-coordinate intermediate. The role of the tpy ligand is revealed by the preparation of [Ru­(tpy)­(phenq)]2+ (phenq = 2-(quinol-8′-yl)-1,10-phenanthroline) that behaves as an active water oxidation catalyst (TON = 334). This activity is explained by the expanded coordination geometry of the phenq ligand that can form a six-membered chelate ring that better accommodates the linear arrangement of axial ligands required for optimal pentagonal bipyramid geometry. When a 1,8-naphthyidine ring is substituted for each of the two peripheral pyridine rings on tpy, increased crowding in the vicinity of the metal center impedes acquisition of the prerequisite reaction geometry.