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J Am Chem Soc. 2005 May 25;127(20):7411-20.

Intermolecular electron-transfer mechanisms via quantitative structures and ion-pair equilibria for self-exchange of anionic (dinitrobenzenide) donors.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Houston, Texas, 77204, USA.


Definitive X-ray structures of "separated" versus "contact" ion pairs, together with their spectral (UV-NIR, ESR) characterizations, provide the quantitative basis for evaluating the complex equilibria and intrinsic (self-exchange) electron-transfer rates for the potassium salts of p-dinitrobenzene radical anion (DNB(-)). Three principal types of ion pairs, K(L)(+)DNB(-), are designated as Classes S, M, and C via the specific ligation of K(+) with different macrocyclic polyether ligands (L). For Class S, the self-exchange rate constant for the separated ion pair (SIP) is essentially the same as that of the "free" anion, and we conclude that dinitrobenzenide reactivity is unaffected when the interionic distance in the separated ion pair is r(SIP) > or =6 Angstroms. For Class M, the dynamic equilibrium between the contact ion pair (with r(CIP) = 2.7 Angstroms) and its separated ion pair is quantitatively evaluated, and the rather minor fraction of SIP is nonetheless the principal contributor to the overall electron-transfer kinetics. For Class C, the SIP rate is limited by the slow rate of CIP right arrow over left arrow SIP interconversion, and the self-exchange proceeds via the contact ion pair by default. Theoretically, the electron-transfer rate constant for the separated ion pair is well-accommodated by the Marcus/Sutin two-state formulation when the precursor in Scheme 2 is identified as the "separated" inner-sphere complex (IS(SIP)) of cofacial DNB(-)/DNB dyads. By contrast, the significantly slower rate of self-exchange via the contact ion pair requires an associative mechanism (Scheme 3) in which the electron-transfer rate is strongly governed by cationic mobility of K(L)(+) within the "contact" precursor complex (IS(CIP)) according to the kinetics in Scheme 4.

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