Catalytic water oxidation to molecular oxygen is of fundamental importance to natural and artificial photosynthesis. The direct sunlight-driven splitting of water into O2 and H2 is anticipated as one of the most promising strategies for providing environmentally friendly and renewable energy sources.Photoinduced O2evolution from the [Cp2Os–OH]+ complex in aqueous solution has been studied by the DFT, CASSCF, and CASPT2 methods. The CASPT2//CASSCF calculations predict that the S3 state is initially populated and the subsequent deprotonation of [Cp2Os–OH]+ proceeds very easily along the T1 pathway as a result of the efficient S3 → T1intersystem crossing. It is found that the O–O bond is formed via the acid–base mechanism, which is different from the direct oxo–oxo coupling mechanism suggested in the experimental study. Formation of the O–O bond is the rate-determining step and has an activation energy and activation free energy of 81.3 and 90.4 kcal/mol, respectively. This is consistent with the low quantum yield observed for generating molecular oxygen upon irradiation at 350 nm (aprox.82 kcal/mol). The O2 release from an intermediate complex has to overcome a small barrier on the triplet pathway first and then pass through the triplet–singlet intersection, generating the O2 molecules in either the lowest singlet or triplet state. The formed O2 molecule can be converted into the O2 molecule by the heavy atom effect in the Os complexes, which is probably the reason only the O2molecule was detected experimentally.
Yue Chen (et al.).Mechanism of Water Oxidation to Molecular Oxygen with Osmocene as Photocatalyst: A Theoretical Study. Inorganic Chemistry. American Chemical Society. Apr 1, 2012.http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/ic202097c