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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Beyond Metal-Hydrides: Non-Transition-Metal and Metal-Free Ligand-Centered Electrocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution and Hydrogen Oxidation.

  • Author(s): Haddad, Andrew Z;
  • Garabato, Brady D;
  • Kozlowski, Pawel M;
  • Buchanan, Robert M;
  • Grapperhaus, Craig A
  • et al.

A new pathway for homogeneous electrocatalytic H2 evolution and H2 oxidation has been developed using a redox active thiosemicarbazone and its zinc complex as seminal metal-free and transition-metal-free examples. Diacetyl-bis(N-4-methyl-3-thiosemicarbazone) and zinc diacetyl-bis(N-4-methyl-3-thiosemicarbazide) display the highest reported TOFs of any homogeneous ligand-centered H2 evolution catalyst, 1320 and 1170 s(-1), respectively, while the zinc complex also displays one of the highest reported TOF values for H2 oxidation, 72 s(-1), of any homogeneous catalyst. Catalysis proceeds via ligand-centered proton-transfer and electron-transfer events while avoiding traditional metal-hydride intermediates. The unique mechanism is consistent with electrochemical results and is further supported by density functional theory. The results identify a new direction for the design of electrocatalysts for H2 evolution and H2 oxidation that are not reliant on metal-hydride intermediates.

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