The Role of Seven-Coordination in Ru-Catalyzed Water Oxidation

Roc Matheu, Mehmed Z. Ertem, Muriel Pipelier, Jacques Lebreton, Didier Dubreuil, Jordi Benet-Buchholz, Xavier Sala, Arnaud Tessier, Antoni Llobet

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30 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 American Chemical Society. A family of Ru complexes based on the pentadentate ligand t5a3- ((2,5-bis(6-carboxylatopyridin-2-yl)pyrrol-1-ide) and pyridine (py) that includes {RuII(Ht5a-κ-N2O)(py)3} (1HII(κ-N2O)), {RuIII(t5a-κ-N3O1.5)(py)2} (2III(κ-N3O1.5)), and {RuIV(t5a-κ-N3O2)(py)2}+ ({2IV(κ-N3O2)}+) has been prepared and thoroughly characterized. Complexes 1HII(κ-N2O), 2III(κ-N3O1.5), and {2IV(κ-N3O2)}+ have been investigated in solution by spectroscopic methods (NMR, UV-vis) and in the solid state by single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis and complemented by density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The redox properties of complex 2III(κ-N3O1.5) have been studied by electrochemical methods (CV and DPV), showing its easy access to high oxidation states, thanks to the trianionic nature of the t5a3- ligand. Under neutral to basic conditions complex {2IV(κ-N3O2)}+ undergoes aquation, generating {RuIV(OH)(t5a-κ-N2O)(py)2} (2IV(OH)(κ-N2O)). Further oxidation of the complex forms {RuV(O)(t5a-κ-N2O)(py)2} (2V(O)(κ-N2O)), which is a very efficient water oxidation catalyst, reaching a TOFMAX value of 9400 s-1 at pH 7.0, as measured via foot of the wave analysis. The key to fast kinetics for the catalytic oxidation of water to dioxygen by 2V(O)(κ-N2O) is due not only to the easy access to high oxidation states but also to the intramolecular hydrogen bonding provided by the noncoordinated dangling carboxylate at the transition state, as corroborated by DFT calculations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2039-2048
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2018


  • Ru complexes
  • adaptative ligands
  • electrocatalysis
  • redox properties
  • seven-coordination
  • water oxidation catalysis


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