Noncovalent immobilization of electrocatalysts on carbon electrodes for fuel production

J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Dec 11;135(49):18288-91. doi: 10.1021/ja4099609. Epub 2013 Nov 26.


We show that molecular catalysts for fuel-forming reactions can be immobilized on graphitic carbon electrode surfaces via noncovalent interactions. A pyrene-appended bipyridine ligand (P) serves as the linker between each complex and the surface. Immobilization of a rhodium proton-reduction catalyst, [Cp*Rh(P)Cl]Cl (1), and a rhenium CO2-reduction catalyst, Re(P)(CO)3Cl (2), afford electrocatalytically active assemblies. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and electrochemistry confirm catalyst immobilization. Reduction of 1 in the presence of p-toluenesulfonic acid results in catalytic H2 production, while reduction of 2 in the presence of CO2 results in catalytic CO production.