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Creators/Authors contains: "Jakubikova, Elena"

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  1. This work reports a combined experimental and computational study of the activation of an otherwise catalytically inactive cobalt complex, [Co(TIM)Br2]+, for aqueous nitrite reduction. The presence of phosphate buffer leads to efficient electrocatalysis, with rapid reduction to ammonium occurring close to the thermodynamic potential and with high Faradaic efficiency. At neutral pH, increasing buffer concentrations increase catalytic current while simultaneously decreasing overpotential, although high concentrations have an inhibitory effect. Controlled potential electrolysis and rotating ring-disk electrode experiments indicate that ammonium is directly produced from nitrite by [Co(TIM)Br2]+, along with hydroxylamine. Mechanistic investigations implicate a vital role for the phosphate buffer, specifically as a proton shuttle, although high buffer concentrations inhibit catalysis. These results indicate a role for buffer in the design of electrocatalysts for nitrogen oxide conversion. 
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  2. Aiming to develop a new class of metallosurfactants with unidirectional electron transfer properties, a (terpyridine) ruthenium complex containing a semiquinone derivative L 2 , namely [Ru III (L terpy )(L 2 )Cl]PF 6 (1), was synthesized and structurally characterized as a solid and in solution. The electronic and redox behaviour of 1 was studied experimentally as well as by means of DFT methods, and is indicative of significant orbital mixing and overlap between metal and ligands. The complex forms stable Pockels–Langmuir films at the air-water interface and allows for the formation of thin films onto gold electrodes to prepare nanoscale Au|LB 1|Au junctions for current–voltage ( I / V ) analysis. Complex 1 shows asymmetric electron transfer with a maximum rectification ratio of 32 based on tunnelling through MOs of the aminocatechol derivative. 
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    Molecular dynamics simulations often classically evolve the nuclear geometry on adiabatic potential energy surfaces (PESs), punctuated by random hops between energy levels in regions of strong coupling, in an algorithm known as surface hopping. However, the computational expense of integrating the geometry on a full-dimensional PES and computing the required couplings can quickly become prohibitive as the number of atoms increases. In this work, we describe a method for surface hopping that uses only important reaction coordinates, performs all expensive evaluations of the true PESs and couplings only once before simulating dynamics (offline), and then queries the stored values during the surface hopping simulation (online). Our Python codes are freely available on GitHub. Using photodissociation of azomethane as a test case, this method is able to reproduce experimental results that have thus far eluded ab initio surface hopping studies. 
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    The ligand-to-metal charge transfer (LMCT) transitions of [Re(dmpe)3]2+ (dmpe = bis-1,2-(dimethylphosphino)ethane) were interrogated using UV/Vis absorbance spectroscopy, photoluminescence spectroscopy, and time-dependent density functional theory. The solvent dependence of the lowest energy charge transfer transition was quantified; no solvatochromism was observed. TD-DFT calculations reveal the dominant LMCT transition is highly symmetric and delocalized involving all phopshine ligand donors in the charge transfer, providing an understanding for the absence of solvatochromism of [Re(dmpe)3]2+. 
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  6. Over the past century, the global concentration of environmental nitrate has increased significantly from human activity, which has resulted in the contamination of drinking water and aquatic hypoxia around the world, so the development of effective nitrate-reducing agents is urgent. This work compares three potential macrocycle-based nitrate reduction electrocatalysts: [Co(DIM)] 3+ , [Co(cyclam)] 3+ and [Co(TIM)] 3+ . Although all three complexes have similar structures, only [Co(DIM)] 3+ has been experimentally determined to be an active electrocatalyst for selective nitrate reduction to produce ammonia in water. While [Co(cyclam)] 3+ can reduce aqueous nitrate to ammonia and hydroxylamine at heavy metal electrodes, [Co(TIM)] 3+ is inactive for the reduction of nitrate. As an initial step to understanding what structural and electronic properties are important for efficient electrocatalysts for nitrate reduction, density functional theory (DFT) was employed to investigate the electronic structure of the three Co complexes, with the reduction potentials calibrated to experimental results. Moreover, DFT was employed to explore four different reaction mechanisms for the first steps of nitrate reduction. The calculated reaction barriers reveal how a combination of electron transfer in a redox non-innocent complex, substrate binding, and intramolecular hydrogen bonding dictates the activity of Co-based catalysts toward nitrate reduction. 
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