Single-Component, Photocatalytic H2 Production Through Acceptorless Alcohol Dehydrogenation: Atypical Metal-Ligand Cooperativity in a Ruthenium(II)-PN/P Complex

23 June 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Metal-ligand cooperativity (MLC) involving reversible aromatization/dearomatization of pyridine-derived pincer ligands is considered important in acceptorless (de)hydrogenation for dihydrogen generation and storage. Dehydrohalogenation of pyridine-derived pincer ruthenium complexes often leads to dearomatized moieties. Thus, we were surprised to find an aromatized kappa-3-NCP binding mode in [{LutP`}Ru(CO)(H)(PPh3)] (2) upon dehydrohalogenation of the lutidine-derived PN/P complex [{LutP}Ru(CO)(Cl)(H)(PPh3)] (1) with KOtBu. The reaction of H2 with 2 results in formation of a cis-dihydride [{LutP}Ru(CO)(H)2(PPh3)] (3) and labeling studies confirm cooperative metal-ligand activation. 3 exhibits reversible photochemistry that we leveraged to demonstrate a unique strategy for unsensitized single-component photocatalytic H2 production via acceptorless alcohol dehydrogenation. Although labeling studies implicate MLC processes during the photocatalytic reaction, they may be off-path intermediates, emphasizing that aromatization/dearomatization may not be necessary for acceptorless transformations.


alcohol dehydrogenation
dihydrogen production


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