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Role of Anation on the Mechanism of Proton Reduction Involving a Pentapyridine Cobalt Complex: A Theoretical Study

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journal contribution
posted on 03.07.2018, 13:19 authored by Murugesan Panneerselvam, Madhavan Jaccob
Kinetic and thermodynamic aspects of proton reduction involving pentapyridine cobalt­(II) complex were investigated with the help of quantum chemical calculations. Free energy profile of all possible mechanistic routes for proton reduction was constructed with the consideration of both anation and solvent bound pathways. The computed free energy profile shows that acetate ion plays a significant role in modulating the kinetic aspects of Co­(III)–hydride formation which is found to be the key intermediate for proton reduction. Upon replacing solvent by acetate ion, one electron reduction and protonation of CoI species become more rapid along with slow displacement reaction. Most favorable pathways for hydrogen evolution from Co­(III)–hydride species is also investigated. Among the four possible pathways, reduction followed by protonation of Co­(III)–hydride (RPP) is found to be the most feasible pathway. On the basis of QTAIM and NBO analyses, the electronic origin of most favorable pathway is explained. The basicity of cobalt center along with thermodynamic stability of putative CoIII/II–H species is essentially a prime factor in deciding the most favorable pathway for hydrogen evolution. Our computed results are in good agreement with experimental observations and also provided adequate information to design cobalt-based molecular electrocatalysts for proton reduction in future.