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  1. Emergent, flowable electrochemical energy storage technologies suitable for grid-scale applications are often limited by sluggish electron transfer kinetics that impede overall energy conversion efficiencies. To improve our understanding of these kinetic limitations in heterometallic charge carriers, we study the role of solvent in influencing the rates of heterogeneous electron transfer, demonstrating its impact on the kinetics of di-titanium substituted polyoxovanadate-alkoxide cluster, [Ti 2 V 4 O 5 (OMe) 14 ]. Our studies also illustrate that the one electron reduction and oxidation processes exhibit characteristically different rates, suggesting that different mechanisms of electron transfer are operative. We report that a 1 : 4 v/v mixture of propylene carbonate and acetonitrile can lead to a three-fold increase in the rate of electron transfer for one electron oxidation, and a two-fold increase in the one electron reduction process as compared to pure acetonitrile. We attribute this behavior to solvent–solvent interactions that lead to a deviation from ideal solution behavior. Coulombic efficiencies ≥90% are maintained in MeCN–PC mixtures over 20 charge/discharge cycles, greater than the efficiencies that are obtained for individual solvents. The results provide insight into the role of solvent in improving the rate of charge transfer and paves a way to systematically tune solvent composition to yield faster electron transfer kinetics. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 27, 2024
  2. Anionic dopants, such as O-atom vacancies, alter the thermochemical and kinetic parameters of proton coupled electron transfer (PCET) at metal oxide surfaces; understanding their impact(s) is essential for informed material design for efficient energy conversion processes. To circumvent challenges associated with studying extended solids, we employ polyoxovanadate–alkoxide clusters as atomically precise models of reducible metal oxide surfaces. In this work, we examine net hydrogen atom (H-atom) uptake to an oxygen deficient vanadium oxide assembly, [V 6 O 6 (MeCN)(OCH 3 ) 12 ] 0 . Addition of two H-atom equivalents to [V 6 O 6 (MeCN)(OCH 3 ) 12 ] 0 results in formation of [V 6 O 5 (MeCN)(OH 2 )(OCH 3 ) 12 ] 0 . Assessment of the bond dissociation free energy of the O–H bonds of the resultant aquo moiety reveals that the presence of an O-atom defect weakens the O–H bond strength. Despite a decreased thermodynamic driving force for the reduction of [V 6 O 6 (MeCN)(OCH 3 ) 12 ] 0 , kinetic investigations show the rate of H-atom uptake at the cluster surface is ∼100× faster than its oxidized congener, [V 6 O 7 (OCH 3 ) 12 ] 0 . Electron density derived from the O-atom vacancy is shown to play an important role in influencing H-atom uptake at the cluster surface, lowering activation barriers for H-atom transfer. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 2, 2024
  3. Hydrogen-atom (H-atom) transfer at the surface of heterogeneous metal oxides has received significant attention owing to its relevance in energy conversion and storage processes. Here, we present the synthesis and characterization of an organofunctionalized polyoxovanadate cluster, (calix)V6O5(OH2)(OMe) 8 (calix = 4- tert -butylcalix[4]arene). Through a series of equilibrium studies, we establish the BDFE(O–H) avg of the aquo ligand as 62.4 ± 0.2 kcal mol −1 , indicating substantial bond weaking of water upon coordination to the cluster surface. Subsequent kinetic isotope effect studies and Eyring analysis indicate the mechanism by which the hydrogenation of organic substrates occurs proceeds through a concerted proton–electron transfer from the aquo ligand. Atomistic resolution of surface reactivity presents a novel route of hydrogenation reactivity from metal oxide surfaces through H-atom transfer from surface-bound water molecules. 
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  4. The selective uptake of lithium ions is of great interest for chemists and engineers because of the numerous uses of this element for energy storage and other applications. However, increasing demand requires improved strategies for the extraction of this element from mixtures containing high concentrations of alkaline impurities. Here, we study solution phase interactions of lithium, sodium, and potassium cations with polyoxovanadate-alkoxide clusters, [V 6 O 7 (OR) 12 ] (R = CH 3 , C 3 H 7 , C 5 H 11 ), using square wave voltammetry and cyclic voltammetry. In all cases, the most reducing event of the cluster shifts anodically as the ionic radius of the cation decreases, indicating increased stability of the reduced cluster and further suggesting that these assemblies might be useful for the selective uptake of Li + . Exploring the consequence of ligand length, we found that the short-chain cluster, [V 6 O 7 (OCH 3 ) 12 ], irreversibly binds Li + in the presence of excess potassium (K + ) and exhibits an electrochemical response in titration experiments similar to that observed upon the addition of Li + to the POV–alkoxide in the presence of non-coordinating tetrabutylammonium ions. However, in the presence of excess sodium (Na + ), the cluster showed only a modest preference for lithium, with exchange between sodium and lithium ions governed by equilibrium. Extending these studies to [V 6 O 7 (OC 5 H 11 ) 12 ], we found that the presence of the pentyl ligands allows the assembly to irreversibly bind Li + in the presence of Na + or K + . The change in mechanism caused by surface functionalization of the clusters increases the differential binding affinity for more compact cations, translating to improved selectivity for Li + uptake in these molecular assemblies. 
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  5. We report accelerated rates of oxygen-atom transfer from a polyoxovanadate–alkoxide cluster following functionalization with a 4- tert butylcalix[4]arene ligand. Incorporation of this electron withdrawing ligand modifies the electronics of the metal oxide core, favoring a mechanism in which the rate of oxygen-atom transfer is limited by outer-sphere electron transfer. 
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  6. Here, we present the first example of reductive silylation for oxygen defect formation at the surface of a polyoxometalate. Upon addition of 1,4-bis(trimethylsilyl)dihydropyrazine (Pyz(SiMe 3 ) 2 ) to [V 6 O 7 (OMe) 12 ] 1− , quantitative formation of the oxygen-deficient vanadium oxide assembly, [V 6 O 6 (OMe) 12 ] 1− was observed. Substoichiometric reactions of Pyz(SiMe 3 ) 2 with the parent cluster revealed the mechanism of defect formation; addition of 0.5 equiv. of Pyz(SiMe 3 ) 2 to [V 6 O 7 (OMe) 12 ] 1− results in isolation of [V 6 O 6 (OSiMe 3 )(OMe) 12 ] 1− . This reactivity was extended to reduced and oxidized forms of the cluster, [V 6 O 7 (OMe) 12 ] n ( n = 2-, 0), revealing the consequences of modifying the oxidation states of remote transition metal ions on the stability of the siloxide functional group, and thus the extent of reactivity of the cluster surface with Pyz(SiMe 3 ) 2 . The work offers a new understanding of the mechanisms of surface activation of reducible metal oxides via reductive silylation, and reveals new chemical routes for the formation of oxygen atom vacancies in polyoxometalate ions. 
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  7. Abstract

    Lindqvist polyoxovanadate‐alkoxide (POV‐alkoxide) clusters are excellent candidates for applications in energy storage and conversion due to their rich electrochemical profiles. One approach to tune the redox properties of these cluster complexes is through substitutional cationic doping within the hexavanadate core. Here, we report the synthesis of a series of tungsten‐substituted POV‐alkoxide clusters with one and two tungsten atoms. Soft landing of mass‐selected ions was used to purify heterometal POV‐alkoxides that cannot be readily separated using conventional approaches. The soft landed POV‐alkoxides are characterized using infrared reflection‐absorption spectroscopy and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. The redox properties of the isolated ions are examined using an in situ electrochemical cell which enables traditional in vacuo electrochemical measurements inside of an ion soft landing instrument. Although the overall cluster core retains redox activity after tungsten doping, vanadium‐based redox couples (VV/VIV) are shifted substantially, indicating a pronounced effect of a heteroatom on the electronic structure of the core.

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