All Publications

  • Effect of Redox Active Ligands on the Electrochemical Properties of Manganese Tricarbonyl Complexes. Inorganic chemistry Matson, B. D., McLoughlin, E. A., Armstrong, K. C., Waymouth, R. M., Sarangi, R. 2019


    The synthesis, structural characterization, and electrochemical behavior of the neutral Mn(azpy)(CO)3(Br) 4 (azpy = 2-phenylazopyridine) complex is reported and compared with its structural analogue Mn(bipy)(CO)3(Br) 1 (bipy = 2,2'-bipyridine). 4 exhibits reversible two-electron reduction at a mild potential (-0.93 V vs Fc+/0 in acetonitrile) in contrast to 1, which exhibits two sequential one-electron reductions at -1.68 V and -1.89 V vs Fc+/0 in acetonitrile. The key electronic structure differences between 1 and 4 that lead to disparate electrochemical properties are investigated using a combination of Mn-K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), Mn-Kbeta X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES), and density functional theory (DFT) on 1, 4, their debrominated analogues, [Mn(L)(CO)3(CH3CN)][CF3SO3] (L = bipy 2, azpy 5), and two-electron reduced counterparts [Mn(bipy)(CO)3][K(18-crown-6)] 3 and [Mn(azpy)(CO)3][Cp2Co] 6. The results reveal differences in the distribution of electrons about the CO and bidentate ligands (bipy and azpy), particularly upon formation of the highly reduced, formally Mn(-1) species. The data show that the degree of ligand noninnocence and resulting redox-activity in Mn(L)(CO)3 type complexes impacts not only the reducing power of such systems, but the speciation of the reduced complexes via perturbation of the monomer-dimer equilibrium in the singly reduced Mn(0) state. This study highlights the role of redox-active ligands in tuning the reactivity of metal centers involved in electrocatalytic transformations.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.9b00652

    View details for PubMedID 31117629

  • Fe-mediated HER vs N2RR: Exploring Factors that Contribute to Selectivity in P3EFe(N2) (E = B, Si, C) Catalyst Model Systems. ACS catalysis Matson, B. D., Peters, J. C. 2018; 8 (2): 1448–55


    Mitigation of the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is a key challenge in selective small molecule reduction catalysis. This is especially true of catalytic nitrogen (N2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction reactions (N2RR and CO2RR, respectively) using H+/e- currency. Here we explore, via DFT calculations, three iron model systems, P3EFe (E = B, Si, C), known to mediate both N2RR and HER, but with different selectivity depending on the identity of the auxiliary ligand. It is suggested that the respective efficiencies of these systems for N2RR trend with the predicted N-H bonds strengths of two putative hydrazido intermediates of the proposed catalytic cycle, P3EFe(NNH2)+ and P3EFe(NNH2). Further, a mechanism is presented for undesired HER consistent with DFT studies, and previously reported experimental data, for these systems; bimolecular proton-coupled-electron-transfer (PCET) from intermediates with weak N-H bonds is posited as an important source of H2' instead of more traditional scenarios that proceed via metal hydride intermediates and proton transfer/electron transfer (PT/ET) pathways. Wiberg bond indices provide additional insight into key factors related to the degree of stabilization of P3EFe(NNH2) species, factors that trend with overall product selectivity.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acscatal.7b03068

    View details for PubMedID 30555733

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6289286

  • Fe-Mediated Nitrogen Fixation with a Metallocene Mediator: Exploring p Ka Effects and Demonstrating Electrocatalysis. Journal of the American Chemical Society Chalkley, M. J., Del Castillo, T. J., Matson, B. D., Peters, J. C. 2018; 140 (19): 6122–29


    Substrate selectivity in reductive multielectron/proton catalysis with small molecules such as N2, CO2, and O2 is a major challenge for catalyst design, especially where the competing hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is thermodynamically and kinetically competent. In this study, we investigate how the selectivity of a tris(phosphine)borane iron(I) catalyst, P3BFe+, for catalyzing the nitrogen reduction reaction (N2RR, N2-to-NH3 conversion) versus HER changes as a function of acid p Ka. We find that there is a strong correlation between p Ka and N2RR efficiency. Stoichiometric studies indicate that the anilinium triflate acids employed are only compatible with the formation of early stage intermediates of N2 reduction (e.g., Fe(NNH) or Fe(NNH2)) in the presence of the metallocene reductant Cp*2Co. This suggests that the interaction of acid and reductant is playing a critical role in N-H bond-forming reactions. DFT studies identify a protonated metallocene species as a strong PCET donor and suggest that it should be capable of forming the early stage N-H bonds critical for N2RR. Furthermore, DFT studies also suggest that the observed p Ka effect on N2RR efficiency is attributable to the rate and thermodynamics of Cp*2Co protonation by the different anilinium acids. Inclusion of Cp*2Co+ as a cocatalyst in controlled potential electrolysis experiments leads to improved yields of NH3. The data presented provide what is to our knowledge the first unambiguous demonstration of electrocatalytic nitrogen fixation by a molecular catalyst (up to 6.7 equiv of NH3 per Fe at -2.1 V vs Fc+/0).

    View details for DOI 10.1021/jacs.8b02335

    View details for PubMedID 29669205

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6071328

  • Catalytic N2-to-NH3 Conversion by Fe at Lower Driving Force: A Proposed Role for Metallocene-Mediated PCET. ACS central science Chalkley, M. J., Del Castillo, T. J., Matson, B. D., Roddy, J. P., Peters, J. C. 2017; 3 (3): 217–23


    We have recently reported on several Fe catalysts for N2-to-NH3 conversion that operate at low temperature (-78 °C) and atmospheric pressure while relying on a very strong reductant (KC8) and acid ([H(OEt2)2][BArF4]). Here we show that our original catalyst system, P3BFe, achieves both significantly improved efficiency for NH3 formation (up to 72% for e- delivery) and a comparatively high turnover number for a synthetic molecular Fe catalyst (84 equiv of NH3 per Fe site), when employing a significantly weaker combination of reductant (Cp*2Co) and acid ([Ph2NH2][OTf] or [PhNH3][OTf]). Relative to the previously reported catalysis, freeze-quench Mössbauer spectroscopy under turnover conditions suggests a change in the rate of key elementary steps; formation of a previously characterized off-path borohydrido-hydrido resting state is also suppressed. Theoretical and experimental studies are presented that highlight the possibility of protonated metallocenes as discrete PCET reagents under the present (and related) catalytic conditions, offering a plausible rationale for the increased efficiency at reduced driving force of this Fe catalyst system.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acscentsci.7b00014

    View details for PubMedID 28386599

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5364448