Photochemical and thermal hydrogen production from water catalyzed by carboxylate-bridged dirhodium(ii) complexes

Saya Tanaka, Shigeyuki Masaoka, Kosei Yamauchi, Masahiko Annaka, Ken Sakai

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45 Citations (Scopus)


A series of dinuclear Rh(ii) complexes, [Rh2(μ-OAc) 4(H2O)2] (HOAc = acetic acid) (1), [Rh 2(μ-gly)4(H2O)2] (Hgly = glycolic acid) (2), [Rh2(μ-CF3CO2) 4(acetone)2] (3), and [Rh2(bpy) 2(μ-OAc)2(OAc)2] (4), were found to serve as H2-evolving catalysts in a three-component system consisting of tris(2,2′-bipyridine)ruthenium(ii) (Ru(bpy)32+), methylviologen (MV2+), and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid disodium salt (EDTA). It was also confirmed that thermal reduction of water into H 2 by MV+, in situ generated by the bulk electrolysis of MV2+, is effectively promoted by 1 as a H2-evolving catalyst. The absorption spectra of the photolysis solution during the photocatalysis were monitored up to 6 h to reveal that the formation of photochemical or thermal byproducts of MV+ is dramatically retarded in the presence of the Rh(ii)2 catalysts, for the H2 formation rather than the decomposition of MV+ becomes predominant in the presence of the Rh(ii)2 catalysts. The stability of the Rh(ii)2 dimers was confirmed by absorption spectroscopy, 1H NMR, and ESI-TOF mass spectroscopy. The results indicated that neither elimination nor replacement of the equatorial ligands take place during the photolysis, revealing that one of the axial sites of the Rh2 core is responsible for the hydrogenic activation. The quenching of Ru*(bpy)32+ by 1 was also investigated by luminescence spectroscopy. The rate of H2 evolution was found to decrease upon increasing the concentration of 1, indicating that the quenching of Ru*(bpy)32+ by the Rh(ii)2 species rather than by MV2+ becomes predominant at the higher concentrations of 1. The DFT calculations were carried out for several possible reaction paths proposed (e.g., [RhII2(μ-OAc)4(H 2O)] + H+ and [RhII2(μ-OAc) 4(H2O)] + H+ + e-). It is suggested that the initial step is a proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) to the Rh(ii)2 dimer leading to the formation of a Rh(ii)Rh(iii)-H intermediate. The H2 evolution step is suggested to proceed either via the transfer of another set of H+ and e- to the Rh(ii)Rh(iii)-H intermediate or via the homolytic radical coupling through the interaction of two Rh(ii)Rh(iii)-H intermediates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11218-11226
Number of pages9
JournalDalton Transactions
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished - Dec 14 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Inorganic Chemistry


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