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Influence of Proton Acceptors on the Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer Reaction Kinetics of a Ruthenium–Tyrosine Complex

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journal contribution
posted on 13.11.2017, 12:49 by J. Christian Lennox, Jillian L. Dempsey
A polypyridyl ruthenium complex with fluorinated bipyridine ligands and a covalently bound tyrosine moiety was synthesized, and its photo-induced proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) reactivity in acetonitrile was investigated with transient absorption spectroscopy. Using flash–quench methodology with methyl viologen as an oxidative quencher, a Ru3+ species is generated that is capable of initiating the intramolecular PCET oxidation of the tyrosine moiety. Using a series of substituted pyridine bases, the reaction kinetics were found to vary as a function of proton acceptor concentration and identity, with no significant H/D kinetic isotope effect. Through analysis of the kinetics traces and comparison to a control complex without the tyrosine moiety, PCET reactivity was found to proceed through an equilibrium electron transfer followed by proton transfer (ET-PT) pathway in which irreversible deprotonation of the tyrosine radical cation shifts the ET equilibrium, conferring a base dependence on the reaction. Comprehensive kinetics modeling allowed for deconvolution of complex kinetics and determination of rate constants for each elementary step. Across the five pyridine bases explored, spanning a range of 4.2 pKa units, a linear free-energy relationship was found for the proton transfer rate constant with a slope of 0.32. These findings highlight the influence that proton transfer driving force exerts on PCET reaction kinetics.

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