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Ramachandran Balasubramanian

pH induced valence inversion in bio-inspired diiron complexes

Published on 22 October 2013

Thesis presented October​ 22, 2013

Abstract :
The thesis matter concerns the valence inversion in FeIIFeIII induced by deprotonation of a FeII ligand. This study is of strong interest owing to the fact this process can be described as an electron transfer induced by a proton transfer. Protons and electrons transfers play essential roles in numerous catalytic or biologic reactions and therefore understanding whether they occur in a sequential or concerted manner is presently a major endeavor.
The first part of the thesis is devoted to the characterization of the first system possessing this original property. It is based on binuclear complex FeIIFeIII where the two Fe ions are bridged by a dicarboxylate and a phenoxide. The ferric ion is bound by a bis-2-picolylamine group and the ferrous ion by a similar group where a pyridine has been replaced by aniline. Deprotonation of this FeII​ bound aniline induces the valence inversion, the resulting anilide being bound to the FeIII ion.
The aniline complex was isolated wit​h the aniline in trans position with respect to the bridging phenoxide, but it is not stable in solution and isomerizes, the aniline group moving to a cis position upon exchange with a pyridine. The same phenomenon was observed for the anilide complex obtained through deprotonation. This phenomenon was studied by combin​ing UV-visible, 1H-RMN and Mössbauer spectroscopies, and the thermodynamic and kinetic characteristics of the isomerization were determined. The link between the electron transfer and the proton transfer were studied by electrochemical techniques. Thorough studies by cyclic voltammetry and isotopic labeling showed that in this system the electron and proton transfers are concerted.
The second section of the thesis was aimed at studying the factors susceptible to influence the electron transfer, namely the redox potentials of the two Fe sites, and the proton transfer, namely the pKa of the protic ligand. To achieve it, new complexes were prepared by modifying either the protic ligand, the aniline being replaced by a benzimidazole, or the Fe binding group, substitution of bis-2-picolylamine by bis-(2-methyl-N-methylbenzimidazole)amine. Model complexes incorporating these changes but deprived of the protic ligand were also obtained to assess their influence on the redox properties of the Fe ions.
The study of the influence of redox properties was considered first. The substitution of the group complexing FeIII has not a strong influence on the structure of the protonated complex which still exists as two isomers. By contrast, after deprotonation a single isomer exists. The spectroscopic properties are mostly unchanged which shows that the electronic structure of the system is not altered significantly.
The study of the influence of the acidity was then conducted. Two complexes differing by the nature of the FeIII bound group were considered. Replacing aniline by benzimidazole does not change significantly the structural properties of the system, but the valences of the Fe ions are less localized than in the original complex. The deprotonation of benzimidazole occurs and leads to a chromophore that differs from the preceding, revealing the difference in ligands. However, a preliminary electrochemical study reveals a behavior similar to that of the original complex.

bio-inorganic chemistry, electrochemistry, diiron, mixed valent, cyclic voltammogram

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