Fresh look at electron-transfer mechanisms via the donor/acceptor bindings in the critical encounter complex

Sergiy V Rosokha, Jay K Kochi
Accounts of Chemical Research 2008, 41 (5): 641-53
Seminal insights provided by the iconic R. S. Mulliken and his "charge-transfer" theory, H. Taube and his "outer/inner-sphere" mechanisms, R. A. Marcus and his "two-state non-adiabatic" theory, and N. S. Hush and his "intervalence" theory are each separately woven into the rich panoramic tapestry constituting chemical research into electron-transfer dynamics, and its mechanistic dominance for the past half century and more. In this Account, we illustrate how the simultaneous melding of all four key concepts allows sharp focus on the charge-transfer character of the critical encounter complex to evoke the latent facet of traditional electron-transfer mechanisms. To this end, we exploit the intervalence (electronic) transition that invariably accompanies the diffusive encounter of electron-rich organic donors (D) with electron-poor acceptors (A) as the experimental harbinger of the collision complex, which is then actually isolated and X-ray crystallographically established as loosely bound pi-stacked pairs of various aromatic and olefinic donor/acceptor dyads with uniform interplanar separations of r(DA) = 3.1 +/- 0.2 A. These X-ray structures, together with the spectral measurements of their intervalence transitions, lead to the pair of important electron-transfer parameters, H(DA) (electronic coupling element) versus lambdaT (reorganization energy), the ratio of which generally defines the odd-electron mobility within such an encounter complex in terms of the resonance stabilization of the donor/acceptor assembly [D, A] as opposed to the reorganization-energy penalty required for its interconversion to the electron-transfer state [D(+*), A(-*)]. We recognize the resonance-stabilization energy relative to the intrinsic activation barrier as the mechanistic binding factor, Q = 2H(DA)/lambdaT, to represent the quantitative measure of the highly variable continuum of inner-sphere/outer-sphere interactions that are possible within various types of precursor complexes. First, Q < 1 identifies one extreme mechanism owing to slow electron-transfer rates that result from the dominance of the intrinsic activation barrier (lambdaT) between the encounter and successor complexes. At the other extreme of Q > or = 1, the overwhelming dominance of the resonance stabilization (H(DA)) predicts the odd-electron mobility between the donor and acceptor to occur without an activation barrier such that bimolecular electron transfer is coincident with their diffusional encounter. In between lies a potentially infinite set of states, 0 < Q < 1 with opposing attractive and destabilizing forces that determine the location of the bound transition states along the reaction coordinate. Three prototypical potential-energy surfaces evolve as a result of progressively increasing the donor/acceptor bindings (H(DA)) extant in the precursor complex (at constant lambdaT). In these cases, the "outer-sphere" mechanism is limited by the weak donor/acceptor coupling that characterizes the now classical Marcus outer-sphere mechanism. Next, the "inner-sphere" mechanism derives from moderate (localized) donor/acceptor bindings and includes the mechanistic concept of the bridged-activated complex introduced by Taube for a wide variety of ligand-based redox dyads. Finally, the "interior" mechanism is also another subclass of the Taube (inner-sphere) classification, and it lies at the other extreme of very fast electron-transfer rate processes (heretofore unrecognized), arising from the spontaneous annihilation of the donor/acceptor dyad to the delocalized (electron-transfer) complex as it descends barrierlessly into the chemical "black hole" that is rate-limited solely by diffusion.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"