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Molecular Chemistry of Consequence to Renewable Energy

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posted on 03.10.2005, 00:00 by Jillian L. Dempsey, Arthur J. Esswein, David R. Manke, Joel Rosenthal, Jake D. Soper, Daniel G. Nocera
Energy conversion cycles are aimed at driving unfavorable, small-molecule activation reactions with a photon harnessed directly by a transition-metal catalyst or indirectly by a transition-metal catalyst at the surface of a photovoltaic cell. The construction of such cycles confronts daunting challenges because they rely on chemical transformations not understood at the most basic levels. These transformations include multielectron transfer, proton-coupled electron transfer, and bond-breaking and -making reactions of energy-poor substrates. We have begun to explore these poorly understood areas of molecular science with transition-metal complexes that promote hydrogen production and oxygen bond-breaking and -making chemistry of consequence to water splitting.