Photoinduced charge accumulation and prolonged multielectron storage for the separation of light and dark reaction

in: Journal of the American Chemical Society (2020)
Schulz, Martin; Hagmeyer, Nina; Wehmeyer, Frerk; Lowe, Grace; Rosenkranz, Marco; Seidler, Bianca; Popov, Alexey; Streb, Carsten; Vos, Johannes G.; Dietzek, Benjamin
The utilization of solar energy is restricted by the intermittent nature of solar influx. We present novel noblemetal free complexes that can be photochemically charged in the presence of sacrificial electron donors and remain stable in its charged form for over 14 hours. This allows the doubly reduced Cu(I) 4H-imidazolate complex to be stored after photochemical charging and used as a reagent in dark reactions, such as the reduction of methyl viologen, or oxygen. Combined UV-Vis/EPR spectroelectrochemistry indicates that a two-electron reduction is induced by introducing sacrificial electron donors that facilitate proton-coupled electron transfer. Repeated photochemical reduction and chemical oxidation reveals that the complex retained a charging capacity of 72% after four cycles. We demonstrate a chemical system that can decouple photochemical processes from the day-night cycle, which has been a barrier to realizing utilization of solar energy in photochemical processes on a global scale.

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