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J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Jan 9;130(1):210-7. Epub 2007 Dec 7.

Cyclometalated iridium(III) Aquo complexes: efficient and tunable catalysts for the homogeneous oxidation of water.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.


A series of bis-phenylpyridine, bis-aquo iridium(III) complexes is herein shown to robustly and efficiently catalyze the oxidation of water to dioxygen in the presence of a sacrificial oxidant. Through substitution on the cyclometalating ligands of these complexes, it is shown that a broad range of oxidation potentials can be achieved within this class of catalyst. Parallel, dynamic monitoring of oxygen evolution, made possible by equipping reaction vessels with pressure-voltage transducers, facilitates correlation of these complexes' ionization potentials with their respective activity toward water oxidation. The importance of these catalysts lies in (A) their ability to oxidize water in a purely aqueous medium, (B) their simplicity of design, (C) their durability, and (D) the ease with which they can be tuned to accommodate the electrochemical needs of photosensitizers in hypothetical photochemical water oxidation and full artificial photosynthetic schemes.

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