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A Nuclear Isotope Effect for Interfacial Electron Transfer:  Excited-State Electron Injection from Ru Ammine Compounds to Nanocrystalline TiO2

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journal contribution
posted on 26.01.2005, 00:00 by Feng Liu, Gerald J. Meyer
The coordination compounds Ru(deeb)(NH3)4(PF6)2 and Ru(deeb)(NH2(CH2)2NH2)4(PF6)2, where deeb is 4,4‘-(CO2CH2CH3)2-2,2‘-bipyridine, were synthesized and attached to optically transparent nanocrystalline (anatase) TiO2 films. The compounds were found to be nonemissive in fluid acetonitrile and when attached to TiO2 with excited-state lifetimes <10 ns. Infrared measurements showed the expected isotopic substitution of the deuterated compounds on TiO2 thin films. A small 10−15 mV shift in the RuIII/II reduction potentials was measured upon deuteration. Metal-to-ligand charge-transfer (MLCT) excitation resulted in interfacial electron transfer into the TiO2 semiconductor with quantum yields that were dependent on the excitation wavelength and deuteration of the ammine ligands. The quantum yields were optimized with blue light excitation (417 nm) and deuterium substitution. In contrast, the kinetic rate constants for charge recombination were insensitive to deuteration and the excitation wavelength. Control experiments with Ru(deeb)(bpy)2(PF6)2 indicated that deuteration of the TiO2 surface alone does not affect the injection or recombination processes. A model is proposed wherein electron injection occurs in competition with vibrational relaxation and/or intersystem crossing of the excited states. Exchange of hydrogen by deuterium slows vibrational relaxation and/or intersystem crossing, resulting in higher injection yields.