In order to solve the problems of global warming and shortage of fossil fuels, researchers have been endeavoring to achieve artificial photosynthesis: splitting water into H2 and O2 under solar light illumination. Our group has recently invented a unique system that drives photoinduced water reduction through “Z-scheme” photosynthetic pathways. Nevertheless, that system still suffered from a low turnover number (TON) of the photocatalytic cycle (TON=4.1). We have now found and describe herein a new methodology to make significant improvements in the TON, up to around TON=14–27. For the new model systems reported herein, the quantum efficiency of the second photoinduced step in the Z-scheme photosynthesis is dramatically improved by introducing multiviologen tethers to temporarily collect the high-energy electron generated in the first photoinduced step. These are unique examples of “pigment–acceptor–catalyst triads”, which demonstrate a new effective type of artificial photosynthesis.
Authors: Kyoji Kitamoto and Ken Sakai
Article first published online: 28 March 2014