Katie Guye


Synthesizing organometallic molecules for use in hydrogen production through water reduction


A method for efficient hydrogen production for uses in alternative fuels is very desirable and has created quick competition in electrochemistry research. By linking two transition metal complexes in a single molecule, it is hoped the metal centers will be held in close enough proximity that the electrons, when excited by visible light in one center, will interact with, and transfer to, the other metal center efficiently. This project seeks to synthesize, characterize, and investigate the electronic behavior of these organometallic molecules.


While past projects by the Goldsmith lab have solely used ruthenium as the metal centers, current and future projects look to incorporate the two metals iridium and rhodium. Ir/Ir, Rh/Rh, as well as Ir/Rh centers of the bimetallic molecule will be synthesized and characterized to investigate electron transfer schemes between differing transition metals. It is hoped these molecules will act as catalysts in the process of photocatalytic water reduction to produce hydrogen.


To synthesize such molecules, 2,2'-bypryridine-5-carboxylic acid will be synthesized and ligated to each side of a multi-carbon chain to form the bipyridine ligand through the carboxylic acid functional group. Each bidentate bipyridine will attach to a transition metal center.


Derivatives of each molecule withholding one of the metal atoms must also be synthesized for control tests. As catalysts are most effective when they can be reused many times without significant decrease in their function and without being destroyed, an assessment of the durability of these systems will also be carried out.