A ruthenium polypyridyl chromophore with electronically isolated triarylamine substituents models the role of tyrosine in the electron transport chain in photosystem II. When bound to the surface of a TiO2 electrode, electron injection from a Ru(II) Metal-to-Ligand Charge Transfer (MLCT) excited state occurs from the complex to the electrode to give Ru(III). Subsequent rapid electron transfer from the pendant triarylamine to Ru(III) occurs with an observed rate constant of ∼1010 s–1, which is limited by the rate of electron injection into the semiconductor. Transfer of the oxidative equivalent away from the semiconductor surface results in dramatically reduced rates of back electron transfer, and a long-lived triarylamine radical cation that has been used to oxidize hydroquinone to quinone in solution.
Eberhart, M. S.; Bowers, L. M. R.; Shan, B.; Troian-Gautier, L.; Brennaman, M. K.; Papanikolas, J. M.; Meyer, T. J. Completing a Charge Transport Chain for Artificial Photosynthesis. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140 (31), 9823-9826. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.8b06740.