Spanning four mechanistic regions of intramolecular proton-coupled electron transfer in aRu(bpy)32+-Tyrosine Complex

Tania Irebo, Ming Tian Zhang, Todd F. Markle, Amy M. Scott, Leif Hammarström

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59 Scopus citations


Proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) from tyrosine (TyrOH) to a covalently linked [Ru(bpy)3]2+ photosensitizer in aqueous media has been systematically reinvestigated by laser flash-quench kinetics as a model system for PCET in radical enzymes and in photochemical energy conversion. Previous kinetic studies on Ru-TyrOH molecules (Sjödin et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc.2000, 122, 3932; Irebo et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc.2007, 129, 15462) have established two mechanisms. Concerted electron-proton (CEP) transfer has been observed when pH < pKa(TyrOH), which is pH-dependent but not first-order in [OH-] and not dependent on the buffer concentration when it is sufficiently low (less than ca. 5 mM). In addition, the pH-independent rate constant for electron transfer from tyrosine phenolate (TyrO-) was reported at pH >10. Here we compare the PCET rates and kinetic isotope effects (kH/kD) of four Ru-TyrOH molecules with varying RuIII/II oxidant strengths over a pH range of 1-12.5. On the basis of these data, two additional mechanistic regimes were observed and identified through analysis of kinetic competition and kinetic isotope effects (KIE): (i) a mechanism dominating at low pH assigned to a stepwise electron-first PCET and (ii) a stepwise proton-first PCET with OH - as proton acceptor that dominates around pH = 10. The effect of solution pH and electrochemical potential of the RuIII/II oxidant on the competition between the different mechanisms is discussed. The systems investigated may serve as models for the mechanistic diversity of PCET reactions in general with water (H2O, OH-) as primary proton acceptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16247-16254
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number39
StatePublished - Oct 3 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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