In the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) domain, the investigation of new homogeneous catalysts is a crucial step toward the full comprehension of the key structural and/or electronic factors that control catalytic efficiency and selectivity. Herein, we report a unique non-heme diiron complex that can act as a homogeneous ORR catalyst in acetonitrile solution. This iron(II) thiolate dinuclear complex, [FeII2(LS)(LSH)] ([Fe2SH]+) (LS2- = 2,2'-(2,2'-bipyridine-6,6'-diyl)bis(1,1-diphenylethanethiolate)) contains a thiol group in the metal coordination sphere. [Fe2SH]+ is an efficient ORR catalyst both in the presence of a one-electron reducing agent and under electrochemically assisted conditions. However, its selectivity is dependent on the electron delivery pathway; in particular, the process is selective for H2O2 production under chemical conditions (up to ∼95%), whereas H2O is the main product during electrocatalysis (less than ∼10% H2O2). Based on computational work alongside the experimental data, a mechanistic proposal is discussed that rationalizes the selective and tunable reduction of dioxygen.
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Manchester Institute of Biotechnology