Consecutive Ligand-Based Electron Transfer in New Molecular Copper-Based Water Oxidation Catalysts

Marcos Gil-Sepulcre, Pablo Garrido-Barros, Jan Oldengott, Ignacio Funes-Ardoiz, Roger Bofill, Xavier Sala, Jordi Benet-Buchholz, Antoni Llobet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Water oxidation to dioxygen is one of the key reactions that need to be mastered for the design of practical devices based on water splitting with sunlight. In this context, water oxidation catalysts based on first-row transition metal complexes are highly desirable due to their low cost and their synthetic versatility and tunability through rational ligand design. A new family of dianionic bpy-amidate ligands of general formula H2LNn− (LN is [2,2′-bipyridine]-6,6′-dicarboxamide) substituted with phenyl or naphthyl redox non-innocent moieties is described. A detailed electrochemical analysis of [(L4)Cu]2− (L4=4,4′-(([2,2′-bipyridine]-6,6′-dicarbonyl)bis(azanediyl))dibenzenesulfonate) at pH 11.6 shows the presence of a large electrocatalytic wave for water oxidation catalysis at an η=830 mV. Combined experimental and computational evidence, support an all ligand-based process with redox events taking place at the aryl-amide groups and at the hydroxido ligands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18639-18644
Number of pages6
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2021


  • first-row transition metal complexes
  • reaction mechanisms
  • redox non-innocent ligand
  • water oxidation catalysis
  • water splitting


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