Since the first report in 2012, molecular copper complexes have been proposed as efficient electrocatalysts for water oxidation reactions, carried out in alkaline/neutral aqueous media. However, in some cases the copper species have been recognized as precursors of an active copper oxide layer, electrodeposited onto the working electrode. Therefore, the question whether copper catalysis is molecular or not is particularly relevant in the field of water oxidation. In this study, we investigate the electrochemical activity of copper(II) complexes with two tetraaza macrocyclic ligands, distinguishing heterogeneous or homogeneous processes depending on the reaction media. In an alkaline aqueous solution, and upon application of an anodic bias to working electrodes, an active copper oxide layer is observed to electrodeposit at the electrode surface. Conversely, water oxidation in neutral aqueous buffers is not associated to formation of the copper oxide layer, and could be exploited to evaluate and optimize a molecular, homogeneous catalysis.

Heterogeneous and Homogeneous Routes in Water Oxidation Catalysis Starting from Cu-II Complexes with Tetraaza Macrocyclic Ligands

DALLE CARBONARE, Nicola;ARGAZZI, Roberto;CARAMORI, Stefano;
2016

Abstract

Since the first report in 2012, molecular copper complexes have been proposed as efficient electrocatalysts for water oxidation reactions, carried out in alkaline/neutral aqueous media. However, in some cases the copper species have been recognized as precursors of an active copper oxide layer, electrodeposited onto the working electrode. Therefore, the question whether copper catalysis is molecular or not is particularly relevant in the field of water oxidation. In this study, we investigate the electrochemical activity of copper(II) complexes with two tetraaza macrocyclic ligands, distinguishing heterogeneous or homogeneous processes depending on the reaction media. In an alkaline aqueous solution, and upon application of an anodic bias to working electrodes, an active copper oxide layer is observed to electrodeposit at the electrode surface. Conversely, water oxidation in neutral aqueous buffers is not associated to formation of the copper oxide layer, and could be exploited to evaluate and optimize a molecular, homogeneous catalysis.
Prevedello, A.; Bazzan, I.; DALLE CARBONARE, Nicola; Giuliani, A.; Bhardwaj, S.; Africh, C.; Cepek, C.; Argazzi, Roberto; Bonchio, M.; Caramori, Stefano; Robert, M.; Sartorel, A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11392/2362070
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