Photochemical oxidation of water and reduction of polyoxometalate anions at interfaces of water with ionic liquids or diethylether

Gianluca Bernardini, Anthony Gordon Wedd, Chuan Zhao, Alan Maxwell Bond

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Photoreduction of [P2W18O62](6-), [S2Mo18O62](4-), and [S2W18O62](4-) polyoxometalate anions (POMs) and oxidation of water occurs when water-ionic liquid and water-diethylether interfaces are irradiated with white light (275-750 nm) or sunlight. The ionic liquids (ILs) employed were aprotic ([Bmim]X; Bmim = (1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium, X = BF4, PF6) and protic (DEAS = diethanolaminehydrogen sulphate; DEAP diethanolamine hydrogen phosphate). Photochemical formation of reduced POMs at both thermodynamically stable and unstable water-IL interfaces led to their initial diffusion into the aqueous phase and subsequent extraction into the IL phase. The mass transport was monitored visually by color change and by steady-state voltammetry at micro-electrodes placed near the interface and in the bulk solution phases. However, no diffusion into the organic phase was observed when [P2W18O62](6-) was photo-reduced at the water-diethylether interface. In all cases, water acted as the electron donor to give the overall process: 4POM + 2H(2)O + h nu -> 4POM(-) + 4H(+) + O-2. However, more highly reduced POM species are likely to be generated as intermediates. The rate of diffusion of photo-generated POM- was dependent on the initial concentration of oxidized POM and the viscosity of the IL (or mixed phase system produced in cases in which the interface is thermodynamically unstable). In the water-DEAS system, the evolution of dioxygen was monitored in situ in the aqueous phase by using a Clark-type oxygen sensor. Differences in the structures of bulk and interfacial water are implicated in the activation of water. An analogous series of reactions occurred upon irradiation of solid POM salts in the presence of water vapor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11552 - 11557
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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