Catalytic nitrogen fixation using visible light energy

Yuya Ashida, Yuto Onozuka, Kazuya Arashiba, Asuka Konomi, Hiromasa Tanaka, Shogo Kuriyama, Yasuomi Yamazaki, Kazunari Yoshizawa, Yoshiaki Nishibayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The synthesis of ammonia from atmospheric dinitrogen, nitrogen fixation, is one of the essential reactions for human beings. Because the current industrial nitrogen fixation depends on dihydrogen produced from fossil fuels as raw material, the development of a nitrogen fixation reaction that relies on the energy provided by renewable energy, such as visible light, is an important research goal from the viewpoint of sustainable chemistry. Herein, we establish an iridium- and molybdenum-catalysed process for synthesizing ammonia from dinitrogen under ambient reaction conditions and visible light irradiation. In this reaction system, iridium complexes and molybdenum triiodide complexes bearing N-heterocyclic carbene-based pincer ligands act as cooperative catalysts to activate 9,10-dihydroacridine and dinitrogen, respectively. The reaction of dinitrogen with 9,10-dihydroacridine is not thermodynamically favoured, and it only takes place under visible light irradiation. Therefore, the described reaction system is one that affords visible light energy–driven ammonia formation from dinitrogen catalytically.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7263
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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