Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.143, No.6, 2484-2490, 2021
Electrostatic Interactions Accelerating Water Oxidation Catalysis via Intercatalyst O-O Coupling
Intercatalyst coupling has been widely applied in the functional mimics for binuclear synergy in natural metal enzymes. Herein, we introduce two facile and effective design strategies, which facilitate the coupling of two catalytic units via electrostatic interactions. The first system is based on a catalyst molecule functionalized with both a positively charged and a negatively charged group in the structure being able to pair with each other in an antiparallel manner arranged by electrostatic interactions. The other system consists of a mixture of two different of catalysts modified with either positively or negatively charged groups to generate intermo-lecular electrostatic interactions. Applying these designs to Ru(bda) (H(2)bda = 2,2'-bipyridine-6,6'-dicarboxylic acid) water-oxidation catalysts improved the catalytic performance by more than an order of magnitude. The intermolecular electrostatic interactions in these two systems were fully identified by H-1 NMR, TEM, SAXS, and electrical conductivity experiments. Molecular dynamics simulations further verified that electrostatic interactions contribute to the formation of prereactive dimers, which were found to play a key role in dramatically improving the catalytic performance. The successful strategies demonstrated here can be used in designing other intercatalyst coupling systems for activation and formation of small molecules and organic synthesis.