skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, June 13 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, June 14 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Electrocatalytic H 2 evolution promoted by a bioinspired (N2S2)Ni( ii ) complex
A bioinspired (N2S2)Ni( ii ) electrocatalyst is reported that produces H 2 from CF 3 CO 2 H with a turnover frequency (TOF) of ∼1250 s −1 at low acid concentration (<0.043 M) in MeCN. A mechanism for the H 2 production by this electrocatalyst is proposed and its activity is benchmarked against those of other reported molecular Ni H 2 evolution electrocatalysts. The involvement of a hemilabile pyridyl group of the N2S2 ligand is proposed to mimic the role of a cysteine residue involved in the biological proton reduction performed by [NiFe] hydrogenases.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Chemical Communications
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1143 to 1146
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Ammonia (NH3) electrosynthesis gains significant attention as NH3is essentially important for fertilizer production and fuel utilization. However, electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) remains a great challenge because of low activity and poor selectivity. Herein, a new class of atomically dispersed Ni site electrocatalyst is reported, which exhibits the optimal NH3yield of 115 µg cm−2h−1at –0.8 V versus reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE) under neutral conditions. High faradic efficiency of 21 ± 1.9% is achieved at ‐0.2 V versus RHE under alkaline conditions, although the ammonia yield is lower. The Ni sites are stabilized with nitrogen, which is verified by advanced X‐ray absorption spectroscopy and electron microscopy. Density functional theory calculations provide insightful understanding on the possible structure of active sites, relevant reaction pathways, and confirm that the Ni‐N3sites are responsible for the experimentally observed activity and selectivity. Extensive controls strongly suggest that the atomically dispersed NiN3site‐rich catalyst provides more intrinsically active sites than those in N‐doped carbon, instead of possible environmental contamination. This work further indicates that single‐metal site catalysts with optimal nitrogen coordination is very promising for NRR and indeed improves the scaling relationship of transition metals.

    more » « less
  2. The density functional theory method is used to elucidate the elementary steps of Ni( ii )-catalyzed C(sp 2 )–H iodination with I 2 and substrates bearing N , N ′-bidentate directing centers, amide-oxazoline (AO) and 8-aminoquinoline (AQ). The relative stability of the lowest energy high- and low-spin electronic states of the catalyst and intermediates is found to be an important factor for all of the steps in the reaction. As a result, two-state reactivity for these systems is reported, where the reaction is initiated on the triplet surface and generates a high energy singlet nickelacycle. It is shown that the addition of Na 2 CO 3 base to the reaction mixture facilitates C–H activation. The presence of I 2 in the reaction provides the much needed driving force for the C–H activation and nickelacycle formation and ultimately reacts to form a new C–I bond through either a redox neutral electrophilic cleavage (EC) pathway or a one-electron reductive cleavage (REC) pathway. The previously proposed Ni( ii )/Ni( iv ) and homolytic cleavage pathways are found to be higher in energy. The nature of the substrate is found to have a large impact on the relative stability of the lowest electronic states and on the stability of the nickelacycle resulting from C–H activation. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Significant progress has been made in the bioinorganic modeling of the paramagnetic states believed to be involved in the hydrogen redox chemistry catalyzed by [NiFe] hydrogenase. However, the characterization and isolation of intermediates involved in mononuclear Ni electrocatalysts which are reported to operate through a NiI/IIIcycle have largely remained elusive. Herein, we report a NiIIcomplex (NCHS2)Ni(OTf)2, where NCHS2 is 3,7-dithia-1(2,6)-pyridina-5(1,3)-benzenacyclooctaphane, that is an efficient electrocatalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) with turnover frequencies of ~3,000 s−1and a overpotential of 670 mV in the presence of trifluoroacetic acid. This electrocatalyst follows a hitherto unobserved HER mechanism involving C-H activation, which manifests as an inverse kinetic isotope effect for the overall hydrogen evolution reaction, and NiI/NiIIIintermediates, which have been characterized by EPR spectroscopy. We further validate the possibility of the involvement of NiIIIintermediates by the independent synthesis and characterization of organometallic NiIIIcomplexes.

    more » « less
  4. Interest in O 2 -dependent aliphatic carbon–carbon (C–C) bond cleavage reactions of first row divalent metal diketonate complexes stems from the desire to further understand the reaction pathways of enzymes such as DKE1 and to extract information to develop applications in organic synthesis. A recent report of O 2 -dependent aliphatic C–C bond cleavage at ambient temperature in Ni( ii ) diketonate complexes supported by a tridentate nitrogen donor ligand [(MBBP)Ni(PhC(O)CHC(O)Ph)]Cl ( 7-Cl ; MBBP = 2,6-bis(1-methylbenzimidazol-2-yl)pyridine) in the presence of NEt 3 spurred our interest in further examining the chemistry of such complexes. A series of new TERPY-ligated Ni( ii ) diketonate complexes of the general formula [(TERPY)Ni(R 2 -1,3-diketonate)]ClO 4 ( 1 : R = CH 3 ; 2 : R = C(CH 3 ) 3 ; 3 : R = Ph) was prepared under air and characterized using single crystal X-ray crystallography, elemental analysis, 1 H NMR, ESI-MS, FTIR, and UV-vis. Analysis of the reaction mixtures in which these complexes were generated using 1 H NMR and ESI-MS revealed the presence of both the desired diketonate complex and the bis-TERPY derivative [(TERPY) 2 Ni](ClO 4 ) 2 ( 4 ). Through selective crystallization 1–3 were isolated in analytically pure form. Analysis of reaction mixtures leading to the formation of the MBBP analogs [(MBBP)Ni(R 2 -1,3-diketonate)]X (X = ClO 4 : 5 : R = CH 3 ; 6 : R = C(CH 3 ) 3 ; 7-ClO4 : R = Ph; X = Cl: 7-Cl : R = Ph) using 1 H NMR and ESI-MS revealed the presence of [(MBBP) 2 Ni](ClO 4 ) 2 ( 8 ). Analysis of aerobic acetonitrile solutions of analytically pure 1–3 , 5 and 6 containing NEt 3 and in some cases H 2 O using 1 H NMR and UV-vis revealed evidence for the formation of additional bis-ligand complexes ( 4 and 8 ) but suggested no oxidative diketonate cleavage reactivity. Analysis of the organic products generated from 3 , 7-ClO4 and 7-Cl revealed unaltered dibenzoylmethane. Our results therefore indicate that N 3 -ligated Ni( ii ) complexes of unsubstituted diketonate ligands do not exhibit O 2 -dependent aliphatic C–C bond clevage at room temperature, including in the presence of NEt 3 and/or H 2 O. 
    more » « less
  5. In the face of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions from fossil fuel combustion, the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) continues to attract attention as a method for generating a carbon-neutral energy source for use in fuel cells. Since some of the best-known catalysts use precious metals like platinum, which have low natural abundance and high cost, developing efficient Earth abundant transition metal catalysts for HER is an important objective. Building off previous work with transition metal catalysts bearing 2,2′-bipyridine-based ligand frameworks, this work reports the electrochemical analysis of a molecular nickel( ii ) complex, which can act as an electrocatalyst for the HER with a faradaic efficiency for H 2 of 94 ± 8% and turnover frequencies of 103 ± 6 s −1 when pentafluorophenol is used as a proton donor. Computational studies of the Ni catalyst suggest that non-covalent interactions between the proton donor and ligand heteroatoms are relevant to the mechanism for electrocatalytic HER. 
    more » « less