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Targeted Proton Delivery in the Catalyzed Reduction of Oxygen to Water by Bimetallic Pacman Porphyrins

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posted on 2004-08-18, 00:00 authored by Christopher J. Chang, Zhi-Heng Loh, Chunnian Shi, Fred C. Anson, Daniel G. Nocera
A combined experimental and theoretical investigation of the role of proton delivery in determining O2 reduction pathways catalyzed by cofacial bisporphyrins is presented. A homologous family of dicobalt(II) Pacman porphyrins anchored by xanthene [Co2(DPX) (1) and Co2(DPXM) (3)] and dibenzofuran [Co2(DPD) (2) and Co2(DPDM) (4)] have been synthesized, characterized, and evaluated as catalysts for the direct four-proton, four-electron reduction of O2 to H2O. Structural analysis of the intramolecular diiron(III) μ-oxo complex Fe2O(DPXM) (5) and electrochemical measurements of 14 establish that Pacman derivatives bearing an aryl group trans to the spacer possess structural flexibilities and redox properties similar to those of their parent counterparts; however, these trans-aryl catalysts exhibit markedly reduced selectivities for the direct reduction of O2 to H2O over the two-proton, two-electron pathway to H2O2. Density functional theory calculations reveal that trans-aryl substitution results in inefficient proton delivery to O2-bound catalysts compared to unsubstituted congeners. In particular, the HOMO of [Co2(DPXM)(O2)]+ disfavors proton transfer to the bound oxygen species, funneling the O−O activation pathway to single-electron chemistry and the production of H2O2, whereas the HOMO of [Co2(DPX)(O2)]+ directs protonation to the [Co2O2] core to facilitate subsequent multielectron O−O bond activation to generate two molecules of H2O. Our findings highlight the importance of controlling both proton and electron inventories for specific O−O bond activation and offer a unified model for O−O bond activation within the clefts of bimetallic porphyrins.

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