Water-soluble mononuclear cobalt complexes with organic ligands acting as precatalysts for efficient photocatalytic water oxidation

Dachao Hong, Jieun Jung, Jiyun Park, Yusuke Yamada, Tomoyoshi Suenobu, Yong Min Lee, Wonwoo Nam, Shunichi Fukuzumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Scopus citations


The photocatalytic water oxidation to evolve O2 was performed by photoirradiation (λ > 420 nm) of an aqueous solution containing [Ru(bpy)3]2+ (bpy = 2,2′-bipyridine), Na 2S2O8 and water-soluble cobalt complexes with various organic ligands as precatalysts in the pH range of 6.0-10. The turnover numbers (TONs) based on the amount of Co for the photocatalytic O2 evolution with [CoII(Me6tren)(OH2)] 2+ (1) and [CoIII(Cp*)(bpy)(OH 2)]2+ (2) [Me6tren = tris(N,N′- dimethylaminoethyl)amine, Cp* = η5- pentamethylcyclopentadienyl] at pH 9.0 reached 420 and 320, respectively. The evolved O2 yield increased in proportion to concentrations of precatalysts 1 and 2 up to 0.10 mM. However, the O2 yield dramatically decreased when the concentration of precatalysts 1 and 2 exceeded 0.10 mM. When the concentration of Na2S2O8 was increased from 10 mM to 50 mM, CO2 evolution was observed during the photocatalytic water oxidation. These results indicate that a part of the organic ligands of 1 and 2 were oxidized to evolve CO2 during the photocatalytic reaction. The degradation of complex 2 under photocatalytic conditions and the oxidation of Me6tren ligand of 1 by [Ru(bpy) 3]3+ were confirmed by 1H NMR measurements. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) experiments indicate the formation of particles with diameters of around 20 ± 10 nm and 200 ± 100 nm during the photocatalytic water oxidation with 1 and 2, respectively. The particle sizes determined by DLS agreed with those of the secondary particles observed by TEM. The XPS measurements of the formed particles suggest that the surface of the particles is covered with cobalt hydroxides, which could be converted to active species containing high-valent cobalt ions during the photocatalytic water oxidation. The recovered nanoparticles produced from 1 act as a robust catalyst for the photocatalytic water oxidation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7606-7616
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


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