Synthetic models for the active site of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase: Catalytic proton reduction and the structure of the doubly protonated intermediate

Maria E. Carroll, Bryan E. Barton, Thomas B. Rauchfuss, Patrick J. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This report compares biomimetic hydrogen evolution reaction catalysts with and without the amine cofactor (adtNH): Fe2(adt NH)(CO)2(dppv)2 (1NH) and Fe 2(pdt)(CO)2(dppv)2 (2) [(adtNH) 2- = HN(CH2S)22-, pdt2- = 1,3-(CH2)3S22-, and dppv = cis-C2H2(PPh2)2]. These compounds are spectroscopically, structurally, and stereodynamically very similar but exhibit very different catalytic properties. Protonation of 1NH and 2 gives three isomeric hydrides each, beginning with the kinetically favored terminal hydride, which converts sequentially to sym and unsym isomers of the bridging hydrides. In the case of 1NH, the corresponding ammonium hydrides are also observed. In the case of the terminal amine hydride [t-H1 NH]BF4, the ammonium/amine hydride equilibrium is sensitive to counteranions and solvent. The species [t-H1NH 2](BF4)2 represents the first example of a crystallographically characterized terminal hydride produced by protonation. The NH - -HFe distance of 1.88(7) - indicates dihydrogen-bonding. The bridging hydrides [-H1NH]+ and [-H2]+ reduce near 1.8 V, about 150 mV more negative than the reductions of the terminal hydride [t-H1NH]+ and [t-H2]+ at 1.65 V. Reductions of the amine hydrides [t-H1NH]+ and [t-H1NH 2]2+ are irreversible. For the pdt analogue, the [t-H2]+/0 couple is unaffected by weak acids (pKa MeCN = 15.3) but exhibits catalysis with HBF4-Et 2O, albeit with a turnover frequency (TOF) around 4 s-1 and an overpotential greater than 1 V. The voltammetry of [t-H1 NH]+ is strongly affected by relatively weak acids and proceeds at 5000 s-1 with an overpotential of 0.7 V. The ammonium hydride [t-H1NH2]2+ is a faster catalyst, with an estimated TOF of 58 000 s-1 and an overpotential of 0.5 V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18843-18852
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 14 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Synthetic models for the active site of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase: Catalytic proton reduction and the structure of the doubly protonated intermediate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this