An Efficient and Stable Hydrophobic Molecular Cobalt Catalyst for Water Electro-oxidation at Neutral pH
B.-T. Chen, N. Morlanés, E. Adogla, K. Takanabe, V.O. Rodionov
ACS Catal., 6 (7), 4647-4652, (2016)
Benzimidazole, Cobalt, Fluorous catalyst, Hydrophobicity, Water-oxidation
The synthesis of a library of molecular water oxidation catalysts based on the Co complex of tris(2-benzimidazolylmethyl)amine is described. Hydrophobicity was identified as the key variable in mediating the catalytic competence of the complexes. The change in this parameter correlates with both the conformational mobility of the ligand core and the structural changes in the local solvent environment around the metal site. The optimal Co complex identified is hydrophobic, because of three semifluorinated side chains. It catalyzes water electro-oxidation efficiently at neutral pH, with an overpotential of 390 mV and a turnover frequency (TOF) of 1.83 s–1 in the absence of soluble Co salts. The catalyst can be immobilized through physisorption, and it remains stable in prolonged electrolysis experiments.