Mechanisms for CO production from CO 2 using reduced rhenium tricarbonyl catalysts

Jay Agarwal, Etsuko Fujita, Henry F. Schaefer, James T. Muckerman

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168 Citations (Scopus)


The chemical conversion of CO 2 has been studied by numerous experimental groups. Particularly the use of rhenium tricarbonyl-based molecular catalysts has attracted interest owing to their ability to absorb light, store redox equivalents, and convert CO 2 into higher-energy products. The mechanism by which these catalysts mediate reduction, particularly to CO and HCOO -, is poorly understood, and studies aimed at elucidating the reaction pathway have likely been hindered by the large number of species present in solution. Herein the mechanism for carbon monoxide production using rhenium tricarbonyl catalysts has been investigated using density functional theory. The investigation presented proceeds from the experimental work of Meyer's group (J. Chem. Soc., Chem. Commun.1985, 1414-1416) in DMSO and Fujita's group (J. Am. Chem. Soc.2003, 125, 11976-11987) in dry DMF. The latter work with a simplified reaction mixture, one that removes the photo-induced reduction step with a sacrificial donor, is used for validation of the proposed mechanism, which involves formation of a rhenium carboxylate dimer, [Re(dmb)(CO) 3] 2(OCO), where dmb = 4,4′-dimethyl-2, 2′-bipyridine. CO 2 insertion into this species, and subsequent rearrangement, is proposed to yield CO and the carbonate-bridged [Re(dmb)(CO) 3] 2(OCO 2). Structures and energies for the proposed reaction path are presented and compared to previously published experimental observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5180-5186
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Mar 21 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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