Oxygen-Oxygen Bond Cleavage and Formation in Co(II) Mediated Stoichiometric O2 Reduction via the Potential Intermediacy of a Co(IV) Oxyl Radical

Diprotonation of a remarkably stable, toluene soluble cobalt peroxo complex supported by a neutral, dianionic pentadentate ligand leads to facile O-O bond cleavage and production of a highly reactive Co(IV) oxyl cation intermediate that dimerizes and releases O<sub>2</sub>. These processes are relevant to both O<sub>2</sub> reduction and O<sub>2</sub> evolution and the mechanism was probed in detail both experimentally and computationally.