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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Inner-sphere vs. outer-sphere reduction of uranyl supported by a redox-active, donor-expanded dipyrrin.

  • Author(s): Pankhurst, James R;
  • Bell, Nicola L;
  • Zegke, Markus;
  • Platts, Lucy N;
  • Lamfsus, Carlos Alvarez;
  • Maron, Laurent;
  • Natrajan, Louise S;
  • Sproules, Stephen;
  • Arnold, Polly L;
  • Love, Jason B
  • et al.

The uranyl(vi) complex UO2Cl(L) of the redox-active, acyclic diimino-dipyrrin anion, L- is reported and its reaction with inner- and outer-sphere reductants studied. Voltammetric, EPR-spectroscopic and X-ray crystallographic studies show that chemical reduction by the outer-sphere reagent CoCp2 initially reduces the ligand to a dipyrrin radical, and imply that a second equivalent of CoCp2 reduces the U(vi) centre to form U(v). Cyclic voltammetry indicates that further outer-sphere reduction to form the putative U(iv) trianion only occurs at strongly cathodic potentials. The initial reduction of the dipyrrin ligand is supported by emission spectra, X-ray crystallography, and DFT; the latter also shows that these outer-sphere reactions are exergonic and proceed through sequential, one-electron steps. Reduction by the inner-sphere reductant [TiCp2Cl]2 is also likely to result in ligand reduction in the first instance but, in contrast to the outer-sphere case, reduction of the uranium centre becomes much more favoured, allowing the formation of a crystallographically characterised, doubly-titanated U(iv) complex. In the case of inner-sphere reduction only, ligand-to-metal electron-transfer is thermodynamically driven by coordination of Lewis-acidic Ti(iv) to the uranyl oxo, and is energetically preferable over the disproportionation of U(v). Overall, the involvement of the redox-active dipyrrin ligand in the reduction chemistry of UO2Cl(L) is inherent to both inner- and outer-sphere reduction mechanisms, providing a new route to accessing a variety of U(vi), U(v), and U(iv) complexes.

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