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J Am Chem Soc. 2009 May 20;131(19):6844-54. doi: 10.1021/ja900017g.

Dioxygen and water activation processes on multi-Ru-substituted polyoxometalates: comparison with the "blue-dimer" water oxidation catalyst.

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  • 1Cherry L. Emerson Center for Scientific Computation and Department of Chemistry, Emory University, 1515 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Dioxygen and water activation on multi-Ru-substituted polyoxometalates were studied using the B3LYP density functional method. It was shown that the reaction of the Ru(2)-substituted gamma-Keggin polyoxotungstate {gamma-[(H(2)O)Ru(III)-(mu-OH)(2)-Ru(III)(H(2)O)][SiW(10)O(36)]}(4-), I(H(2)O), with O(2) is a 4-electron highly exothermic [DeltaE(gas) = 62.5 (DeltaE(gas) + DeltaG(solv(water)) = 24.6) kcal/mol] process and leads to formation of (H(2)O){gamma-[(O)Ru-(mu-OH)(2)-Ru(O)](H(2)O)[SiW(10)O(36)]}(4-), IV(H(2)O). Both the stepwise (or dissociative) and the concerted (or associative) pathways of this reaction occurring with and without water dissociation, respectively, were examined, and the latter has been found to be kinetically more favorable. It was shown that the first 1e-oxidation is achieved by the H(2)O-to-O(2) substitution, which might occur with a maximum of 23.1 (10.5) kcal/mol barrier and leads to the formation of {gamma-[(OO)Ru-(mu-OH)(2)-Ru(H(2)O)](H(2)O)[SiW(10)O(36)]}(4-), II(H(2)O). The second 1e-oxidation is initiated by the proton transfer from the coordinated water molecule to the superoxide (OO(-)) ligand in II(H(2)O) and is completed upon formation of hydroperoxo-hydroxo intermediate {gamma-[(OOH)Ru-(mu-OH)(2)-Ru(OH)](H(2)O)[SiW(10)O(36)]}(4-), III-1(H(2)O). The final 2e-oxidation occurs upon the proton transfer from the terminal OH-ligand to the Ru-coordinated OOH fragment and is completed at the formation of (H(2)O)...{gamma-[(O)Ru-(mu-OH)(2)-Ru(O)](H(2)O)[SiW(10)O(36)]}(4-), IV(H(2)O), with two Ru=O bonds. Each step in the associative pathway is exothermic and occurs with small energy barriers. During the process, the oxidation state of Ru centers increases from +3 to +4. The resulting IV(H(2)O) with a {Ru(O)-(mu-OH)(2)-Ru(O)} core should be formulated to have the Ru(IV)=O(*) units, rather than the Ru(V)=O groups. The reverse reaction, water oxidation by IV(H(2)O), is found to be highly endothermic and cannot occur; this finding is different from that reported for the "blue-dimer" intermediate, {(bpy)(2)[(O(*))Ru-(mu-O)-Ru(O(*))](bpy)(2)}(4+), which readily oxidized an incoming water molecule to produce O(2). The main reason for this difference in reactivity of IV(H(2)O) (i.e., Ru(2)-POM) and the "blue-dimer" intermediates toward the water molecule is found to be a high stability of IV(H(2)O) as compared to the analogous "blue-dimer" intermediate relative to O(2) formation. This, in turn, derives from the electron-rich nature of [SiW(10)O(36)](4-) as compared to bpy ligands.

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