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  1. Continually increasing global energy demand perpetuates the need for effective alternative energy sources and ‘green’ industrial processes. The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is crucial to the development of hydrogen fuel cells, a key device in the development of alternative energy sources. Further, the ORR to hydrogen peroxide by electrochemical means can provide an environmentally friendly alternative to its industrial production, which is capital and energy intensive. While Pt has traditionally been the best electrocatalyst for the ORR, inspiration from active sites in nature that bind and transport O 2 has led to the development of earth-abundant transition metal catalysts. However, despite the prevalence of Mn-based active sites that bind and activate O 2 in biological systems, there remains a lack of developed Mn-centered catalysts for ORR in comparison to Fe and Co. Here, we summarize known Mn-based molecular electrocatalysts for the ORR and describe their activity as well as future directions of the field.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 20, 2023
  2. We report a new terpyridine-based FeN3O catalyst, Fe(tpytbupho)Cl2, which reduces O2 to H2O. Variable concentration and variable temperature spectrochemical studies with decamethylferrocene as a chemical reductant in acetonitrile solution enabled the elucidation of key reaction parameters for the catalytic reduction of O2 to H2O by Fe(tpytbupho)Cl2. These mechanistic studies suggest that a 2 + 2 mechanism is operative, where hydrogen peroxide is produced as a discrete intermediate, prior to further reduction to H2O. Consistent with this proposal, the spectrochemically measured first-order rate constant k (s−1) value for H2O2 reduction is larger than that for O2 reduction. Further, significant H2O2 production is observed under hydrodynamic conditions in rotating ring-disk electrode measurements, where the product can be swept away from the cathode surface before further reduction occurs.
  3. A general interest in harnessing the oxidizing power of dioxygen (O 2 ) continues to motivate research efforts on bioinspired and biomimetic complexes to better understand how metalloenzymes mediate these reactions. The ubiquity of Fe- and Cu-based enzymes attracts significant attention and has resulted in many noteworthy developments for abiotic systems interested in direct O 2 reduction and small molecule activation. However, despite the existence of Mn-based metalloenzymes with important O 2 -dependent activity, there has been comparatively less focus on the development of these analogues relative to Fe- and Cu-systems. In this Perspective , we summarize important contributions to the development of bioinspired mononuclear Mn complexes for O 2 activation and studies on their reactivity, emphasizing important design parameters in the primary and secondary coordination spheres and outlining mechanistic trends.
  4. The two-electron and two-proton p -hydroquinone/ p -benzoquinone (H 2 Q/BQ) redox couple has mechanistic parallels to the function of ubiquinone in the electron transport chain. This proton-dependent redox behavior has shown applicability in catalytic aerobic oxidation reactions, redox flow batteries, and co-electrocatalytic oxygen reduction. Under nominally aprotic conditions in non-aqueous solvents, BQ can be reduced by up to two electrons in separate electrochemically reversible reactions. With weak acids (AH) at high concentrations, potential inversion can occur due to favorable hydrogen-bonding interactions with the intermediate monoanion [BQ(AH) m ]˙ − . The solvation shell created by these interactions can mediate a second one-electron reduction coupled to proton transfer at more positive potentials ([BQ(AH) m ]˙ − + n AH + e − ⇌ [HQ(AH) (m+n)−1 (A)] 2− ), resulting in an overall two electron reduction at a single potential at intermediate acid concentrations. Here we show that hydrogen-bonded adducts of reduced quinones and the proton donor 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol (TFEOH) can mediate the transfer of electrons to a Mn-based complex during the electrocatalytic reduction of dioxygen (O 2 ). The Mn electrocatalyst is selective for H 2 O 2 with only TFEOH and O 2 present, however, with BQ present under sufficientmore »concentrations of TFEOH, an electrogenerated [H 2 Q(AH) 3 (A) 2 ] 2− adduct (where AH = TFEOH) alters product selectivity to 96(±0.5)% H 2 O in a co-electrocatalytic fashion. These results suggest that hydrogen-bonded quinone anions can function in an analogous co-electrocatalytic manner to H 2 Q.« less
  5. Pentacoordinate Al catalysts comprising bipyridine (bpy) and phenanthroline (phen) backbones were synthesized and their catalytic activity in epoxide/anhydride copolymerization was investigated and compared to ( t-Bu salph)AlCl. Stoichiometric reactions of tricyclic anhydrides with Al alkoxide complexes produced ring-opened products that were characterized by NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and X-ray crystallography, revealing key regio- and stereochemical aspects.