Cocatalyst-free Photocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution with Simple Heteroleptic Iridium(III) Complexes

Govardhana Babu Bodedla, Daniel Nnaemaka Tritton, Xi Chen, Jianzhang Zhao, Zeling Guo, Ken Cham-Fai Leung*, Wai Yeung Wong*, Xunjin Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


A simple heteroleptic iridium(III) photosensitizer, Ir-1, containing two ligands 5-(trifluoromethyl)-2-phenylpyridine (C-N-CF3) and bipyridine (N-N) has for the first time been studied for cocatalyst-free photocatalytic hydrogen evolution (PHE). The complex Ir-1 produces a hydrogen production rate (H2) of 3.2 mmol g-1 h-1, which is over 3.6-fold higher than that of the control complex Ir-2 (0.9 mmol g-1 h-1) containing bipyridine and 2-phenylpyridine ligands without CF3 groups. The higher H2 of Ir-1 could be ascribed to the high light-harvesting property, longer triplet electron lifetime, and more appropriate driving force for accepting electrons from the sacrificial donor, which enable efficient charge separation and transfer of electrons for hydrogen evolution. Additionally, the photostability issues of Ir-1 and Ir-2 are addressed by the selection of suitable organic solvent/water photocatalytic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3945-3951
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number4
Early online date25 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • cocatalyst-free
  • iridium(III) complex
  • photocatalytic hydrogen evolution
  • photostability and reductive quenching


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