The hole-driving oxidation of titanium-coordinated water molecules on the surface of TiO2 is both thermodynamically and kinetically unfavorable. By avoiding the direct coordinative adsorption of water molecules to the surface Ti sites, the water can be activated to realize its oxidation. When TiO2 surface is covered by the H-bonding acceptor F, the first-layer water adsorption mode is switched from Ti coordination to a dual H-bonding adsorption on adjacent surface F sites. Detailed in situ IR spectroscopy and isotope-labeling studies reveal that the adsorbed water molecules by dual H-bonding can be oxidized to O2 even in the absence of any electron scavengers. Combined with theoretical calculations, it is proposed that the formation of the dual H-bonding structure can not only enable the hole transfer to the water molecules thermodynamically, but also facilitate kinetically the cleavage of OH bonds by proton-coupled electron transfer process during water oxidation.
Switching the water adsorption mode on TiO2 to dual H-bonding by the presence of fluorine atoms at the surface not only thermodynamically enables the hole transfer to the water molecules, but also facilitates the proton-coupled electron transfer during water oxidation. This phenomenon is established by IR spectroscopy studies and calculations.
Reported are two highly efficient metal-free perylene dyes featuring N-annulated thienobenzoperylene (NTBP) and N-annulated thienocyclopentaperylene (NTCP), which are coplanar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Without the use of any coadsorbate, the metal-free organic dye derived from the NTCP segment was used for a dye-sensitized solar cell which attained a power conversion efficiency of 12 % under an irradiance of 100 mW cm−2, simulated air mass global (AM1.5G) sunlight.
Power trip: A perylene dye derived from N-annulated thienocyclopentaperylene, which is characterized by a low-energy gap and a high electron injection yield, was synthesized for dye-sensitized solar cells. A high power conversion efficiency of 12 %, at an irradiance of the AM1.5G sunlight, was achieved. This efficiency is the highest achieved thus far by using just a metal-free organic dye.
Photosynthetic systems regulate light harvesting via structural and electronic control of antenna proteins. Here, the authors report a light-harvesting antenna/reaction centre mimic that can be allosterically regulated using mild and redox-inactive inputs, via a coordination framework with hemilabile ligands.
Nature Communications doi: 10.1038/ncomms7541
Authors: Alejo M. Lifschitz, Ryan M. Young, Jose Mendez-Arroyo, Charlotte L. Stern, C. Michael McGuirk, Michael R. Wasielewski, Chad A. Mirkin
Development of catalysts that enhance dissociation of the nitrogen–nitrogen triple bond will reduce costs of ammonia production. Here, the authors study ammonia synthesis over a ruthenium loaded electride catalyst and show that the rate-determining step is shifted to nitrogen–hydrogen bond formation.
Nature Communications doi: 10.1038/ncomms7731
Authors: Masaaki Kitano, Shinji Kanbara, Yasunori Inoue, Navaratnarajah Kuganathan, Peter V. Sushko, Toshiharu Yokoyama, Michikazu Hara, Hideo Hosono
Composites of mesoporous polymeric carbon nitride and tungsten(VI) oxide show very high photocatalytic activity for the evolution of hydrogen from water under visible light and in the presence of sacrificial electron donors. Already addition of very small amounts of WO3 yields up to a twofold increase in the efficiency when compared to bulk carbon nitrides and their composites and more notably even to the best reported mesoporous carbon nitride-based photocatalytic materials. The higher activity can be attributed to the high surface area and synergetic effect of the carbon nitrides and the WO3 resulting in improved charge separation through a photocatalytic solid-state Z-scheme mechanism.
CN/WO3 composites for enhanced H2 evolution: Mesoporous CN/WO3 composites prepared by a simple dispersion method are efficient photocatalysts for enhanced hydrogen production from water. Compared to other nonporous composites based on carbon nitrides, a twofold increase in activity is observed, which is attributed to the high surface area and efficient solid-state Z-scheme-induced charge separation in these composites.
The first stable copper borohydride complex [(CAAC)CuBH4] [CAAC=cyclic(alkyl)(amino)carbene] bearing a single monodentate ligand was prepared by addition of NaBH4 or BH3NH3 to the corresponding [(CAAC)CuCl] complex. Both complexes are air-stable and promote the catalytic hydrolytic dehydrogenation of ammonia borane. The amount of hydrogen released reaches 2.8 H2/BH3NH3 with a turnover frequency of 8400 mol molcat−1 h−1 at 25 °C. In a fifteen-cycle experiment, the catalyst was reused without any loss of efficiency.
Copper works! [(CAAC)CuCl] reacts with both NaBH4 and BH3NH3 to afford [(CAAC)CuBH4] as a thermally and air-stable complex. Both complexes efficiently promote the hydrolytic dehydrogenation of ammonia borane at room temperature, with a turnover frequency of up to 8400 mol molcat−1 h−1. In addition, these air-stable catalysts are readily recyclable. CAAC=cyclic (alkyl)(amino)carbene.
Characteristics of zeolite formation, such as being kinetically slow and thermodynamically metastable, are the main bottlenecks that obstruct a fast zeolite synthesis. We present an ultrafast route, the first of its kind, to synthesize high-silica zeolite SSZ-13 in 10 min, instead of the several days usually required. Fast heating in a tubular reactor helps avoid thermal lag, and the synergistic effect of addition of a SSZ-13 seed, choice of the proper aluminum source, and employment of high temperature prompted the crystallization. Thanks to the ultra-short period of synthesis, we established a continuous-flow preparation of SSZ-13. The fast-synthesized SSZ-13, after copper-ion exchange, exhibits outstanding performance in the ammonia selective catalytic reduction (NH3-SCR) of nitrogen oxides (NOx), showing it to be a superior catalyst for NOx removal. Our results indicate that the formation of high-silica zeolites can be extremely fast if bottlenecks are effectively widened.
Bottle opener: SSZ-13 is a zeolite commercialized as a catalyst to remove nitrogen oxides (NOx). However, its long synthesis time is one of the biggest barriers to large-scale production. An ultrafast synthesis route now allows SSZ-13 to be synthesized in 10 min and thus facilitates continuous preparation of SSZ-13. The fast-synthesized SSZ-13 exhibits outstanding performance for the NOx removal.
Solid bases, such as SBA-15-oxynitrides, have attracted considerable interest for potential applications as catalysts in important industrial processes. Reported herein is that by simply tuning the temperature of nitridation (ammonolysis), the catalytic activity of these solid bases can be enhanced. Solid-state NMR spectroscopy and XPS studies provided the reasoning behind this change in activity.
Oxynitride solid: Solid bases, such as SBA-15-oxynitrides, have attracted considerable interest for potential applications as catalysts in important industrial processes. Reported here is that tuning the temperature of nitridation (ammonolysis) leads to enhanced catalytic activity of these solid bases. Detailed studies are discussed to explain this change in activity.
Organometallic complexes are effective hydrogenation catalysts for organic reactions. Here the authors report for the first time that transfer hydrogenation catalysis can take place inside the cell and could be used as a novel anticancer strategy.
Nature Communications doi: 10.1038/ncomms7582
Authors: Joan J. Soldevila-Barreda, Isolda Romero-Canelón, Abraha Habtemariam, Peter J. Sadler
Lead halide perovskite solar cells use hole-blocking layers to allow a separate collection of positive and negative charge carriers and to achieve high-operation voltages. Here, the authors demonstrate efficient lead halide perovskite solar cells that avoid using this extra layer.
Nature Communications doi: 10.1038/ncomms7700
Authors: Weijun Ke, Guojia Fang, Jiawei Wan, Hong Tao, Qin Liu, Liangbin Xiong, Pingli Qin, Jing Wang, Hongwei Lei, Guang Yang, Minchao Qin, Xingzhong Zhao, Yanfa Yan
A series of dithienylethene-containing phosphole derivatives has been designed, synthesized and characterized. One of the compounds has been characterized by X-ray crystallography. Upon photoexcitation, the compounds exhibit drastic color changes, ascribed to the reversible photochromic behavior. Their photochromic, photophysical and electrochemical properties have been studied. They show photochromic reactivities with high photocyclization quantum yields. Their photophysical and photochromic properties are found to be facilely tuned in this system by substitution at the phosphole backbone, as well as variation on the extent of π-conjugation of the phosphole backbone. Some selected compounds have been demonstrated to exhibit photochromic properties in polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) films.
Robust photoswitch: A new series of robust dithienylethene-containing phosphole derivatives has been synthesized (see figure); their photophysical and photochromic properties are found to be readily tuned by simple modifications at the phosphorus center, substitution at the phosphole backbone, as well as variation on the extent of π-conjugation of the phosphole backbone. Both the open and closed forms of the phosphole compounds have good thermal stability in benzene solution and in PMMA film.
Transfer hydrogenation Transfer hydrogenation is a simple safe way for reduction reactions and using water as a solvent has the additional benefit of being “green”. In their Full paper on page 5370 ff., J. Xiao et al. report that a cyclometalated iridium complex catalyzes the transfer hydrogenation of various nitrogen heterocycles in an aqueous solution of formate under mild conditions. The catalyst shows excellent functional-group compatibility and high turnover number, with loadings as low as 0.01 mol % being feasible. A mechanistic study of quinoline reduction suggests that the reaction proceeds via both 1,2- and 1,4-addition pathways, with the catalytic turnover limited by hydride transfer.
Dual role for catalysts: Novel routes for the generation of asymmetric stereocenters using photoredox catalysis were recently developed. Different chiral catalytic systems allowed new CC bonds to form in good yields and enantioselectivities using a mild methodology in which light is used as the energy source.