L. De Bruecker

Influence of the number of ligands and point group on the electronic structure of Co2+ aqua-complexes

L. De Bruecker, V. Van Speybroeck
Inorganic Chemistry
61, 51, 20743–20756


The nucleation process of zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) is, to date, not yet completely understood, making the search for tailored materials very difficult. Recently, it has been shown that, during the formation process, the symmetry of the precursors is reduced by ligand elimination and substitution reactions. The octahedral precursors with simple ligands, such as water, methanol, and/or NO3, are transformed to five- and finally four-coordinated complexes with imidazole ligands. This reduction of symmetry, caused both by the changing coordination environment and distortions from the perfect symmetry leading to another point group, will have a large influence on the electronic structure and more specifically on the d-orbital splitting. This, in turn, will affect the d–d electronic excitations, which can be followed using UV–vis spectroscopy and which can help to unravel the formation process. In this work, we systematically investigate how the lowering of the number of ligands affects the symmetry and thus the geometry and electronic structure of Co2+ complexes with six, five, and four aqua ligands. Therefore, we first resort to qualitative techniques, such as crystal field theory (CFT) and ligand field theory (LFT), which reveal that the orbital splitting is characteristic for the number of ligands. However, as these techniques are not capable of providing quantitative results without the use of experimental data as input, we perform various computational calculations. Both average of configuration (AOC) and unrestricted density functional theory (UDFT) are thoroughly investigated, and we will determine which technique is the best suited to properly describe the ground state of these systems. To investigate the dependency on the d-orbital occupation, we also investigated V2+, Mn2+, and Ni2+ hexa-aqua-complexes and compared them to the Co systems.

Structural and photophysical properties of various polypyridyl ligands: A combined experimental and computational study

L. De Bruecker, J. Everaert, P. Van der Voort, C.V. Stevens, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
21 (22), 2489–2505


Covalent triazine frameworks (CTFs) with polypyridyl ligands are very promising supports to anchor photocatalytic complexes. Herein, we investigate the photophysical properties of a series of ligands which vary by the extent of the aromatic system, the nitrogen content and their topologies to aid in selecting interesting building blocks for CTFs. Interestingly, some linkers have a rotational degree of freedom, allowing both a trans and cis structure, where only the latter allows anchoring. Therefore, the influence of the dihedral angle on the UV‐Vis spectrum is studied . The photophysical properties are investigated by a combined computational and experimental study. Theoretically, both static and molecular dynamics simulations are performed to deduce ground‐ and excited state properties based on density functional theory (DFT) and time‐dependent DFT. The position of the main absorption peak shifts towards higher wavelengths for an increased size of the π‐system and a higher π‐electron deficiency. We found that the position of the main absorption peak among the different ligands studied in this work can amount to 271 nm; which has a significant impact on the photophysical properties of the ligands. This broad range of shifts allows modulation of the electronic structure by varying the ligands and may help in a rational design of efficient photocatalysts.

Gold Open Access

Optical Properties of Isolated and Covalent Organic Framework-Embedded Ruthenium Complexes

F. Muniz-Miranda, L. De Bruecker, A. De Vos, F. Vanden Bussche, C.V. Stevens, P. Van der Voort, K. Lejaeghere, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Physical Chemistry A
123 (32), 6854-6867


Heterogenization of RuL3 complexes on a support with proper anchor points provides a route toward design of green catalysts. In this paper, Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes are investigated with the aim to unravel the influence on the photocatalytic properties of varying nitrogen content in the ligands and of embedding the complex in a triazine-based covalent organic framework. To provide fundamental insight into the electronic mechanisms underlying this behavior, a computational study is performed. Both the ground and excited state properties of isolated and anchored ruthenium complexes are theoretically investigated by means of density functional theory and time-dependent density functional theory. Varying the ligands among 2,2′-bipyridine, 2,2′-bipyrimidine, and 2,2′-bipyrazine allows us to tune to a certain extent the optical gaps and the metal to ligand charge transfer excitations. Heterogenization of the complex within a CTF support has a significant effect on the nature and energy of the electronic transitions. The allowed transitions are significantly red-shifted toward the near IR region and involve transitions from states localized on the CTF toward ligands attached to the ruthenium. The study shows how variations in ligands and anchoring on proper supports allows us to increase the range of wavelengths that may be exploited for photocatalysis.

Gold Open Access


Subscribe to RSS - L. De Bruecker