Artificially Produced UV Light and Challenging Photoreactions Enabled by Upconversion in Water

02 March 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Sensitized triplet-triplet annihilation is the most promising mechanism for pooling the energy of two visible photons, but its applications in solution were so far limited to organic solvents, with a current maximum of the excited-singlet state energy of 3.6 eV. By combining tailor-made iridium complexes with naphthalenes, we demonstrate blue-light driven upconversion in water with unprecedented singlet-state energies approaching 4 eV. The annihilators have outstanding excited-state reactivities enabling challenging photoreductions driven by sTTA. Specifically, we found that an aryl-bromide bond activation can be achieved with blue photons, and we obtained full conversion for the very energy-demanding decomposition of a persistent ammonium compound as typical water pollutant, not only with a cw laser but also with an LED light source. These results provide the first proof-of-concept for the usage of low-power light sources for challenging reactions employing blue-to-UV upconversion in water, and pave the way for the further development of sustainable light-harvesting applications.


Photoredox Catalysis
Green Chemistry

Supplementary materials

Blue to-UV upconversion SI Pfund et al V1


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