Light-Driven Water Oxidation with the Ir-blue Catalyst and the Ru(bpy)3 2+/S2O8 2- Cycle: Photogeneration of Active Dimers, Electron-Transfer Kinetics, and Light Synchronization for Oxygen Evolution with High Quantum Efficiency

Andrea Volpe, Cristina Tubaro, Mirco Natali, Andrea Sartorel, Gary W. Brudvig, Marcella Bonchio

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Light-driven water oxidation is achieved with the Ru(bpy)3 2+/S2O8 2- cycle employing the highly active Ir-blue water oxidation catalyst, namely, an IrIV,IV 2(pyalc)2 μ-oxo-dimer [pyalc = 2-(2′-pyridyl)-2-propanoate]. Ir-blue is readily formed by stepwise oxidation of the monomeric Ir(III) precursor 1 by the photogenerated Ru(bpy)3 3+, with a quantum yield φ of up to 0.10. Transient absorption spectroscopy and kinetic evidence point to a stepwise mechanism, where the primary event occurs via a fast photoinduced electron transfer from 1 to Ru(bpy)3 3+, leading to the Ir(IV) monomer I1 (k1 ∼108 M-1 s-1). The competent Ir-blue catalyst is then obtained from I1 upon photooxidative loss of the Cp∗ ligand and dimerization. The Ir-blue catalyst is active in the Ru(bpy)3 2+/S2O8 2- light-driven water oxidation cycle, where it undergoes two fast photoinduced electron transfers to Ru(bpy)3 3+ [with kIr-blue = (3.00 ± 0.02) × 108 M-1 s-1 for the primary event, outperforming iridium oxide nanoparticles by ca. 2 orders of magnitude], leading to a IrV,V 2 steady-state intermediate involved in O-O bond formation. The quantum yield for oxygen evolution depends on the photon flux, showing a saturation regime and reaching an impressive value of φ(O2) = 0.32 ± 0.01 (corresponding to a quantum efficiency of 64 ± 2%) at low irradiation intensity. This result highlights the key requirement of orchestrating the rate of the photochemical events with dark catalytic turnover.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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