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Experimental and Quantum Chemical Characterization of the Water Oxidation Cycle Catalyzed by [RuII(damp)(bpy)(H2O)]2+

Vigara, L.; Ertem, M. Z.; Planas, N.; Bozoglian, F.; Leidel, N.; Dau, H.; Haumann, M.; Gagliardi, L.; Cramer, C. J.; Llobet, A.
Chem. Sci. 2012, 3, 2576 (doi:10.1039/c2sc20399e).

The water-oxidation catalytic activity of [RuII(damp)(bpy)(H2O)]2+ has been determined from manometric and mass spectroscopy studies. Mechanistic details of the catalytic cycle have been studied both experimentally and using DFT and CASSCF/CASPT2 calculations. Characterisation of this Ru(II) complex and more highly oxidized catalytic intermediates has been accomplished through UV-vis and XAS spectroscopy, as well as through electrochemical techniques. Comparison of XAS spectra with CASSCF/CASPT2 calculations provides insight into the electronic structures of the more highly oxidized species, especially the degree to which oxidation occurs over both atoms of the Ru-O fragment. 18O-labeling experiments indicate that the O-O bond formation step proceeds via a water nucleophilic attack mechanism, and a detailed DFT analysis of the catalytic cycle predicts that step to be rate-determining and to take place for a formal Ru(V)=O species. A number of alternative higher energy pathways have also been characterised in order to provide a more complete vision of the whole system.