Mononuclear metal-dioxygen species (M-O2) are key intermediates in a variety of the oxidative transformation processes mediated by heme and nonheme metalloenzymes. Understanding their O2-activation mechanism at an orbital level is still of scientific significance. In the present work, we spectroscopically analyzed the biomimetic NiII-superoxo δ-bond: the origin of its abnormal electrophilic reactivity. We prepared the biomimetic NiII-superoxo species through the room temperature reaction of the NiI site with O2 in MFI zeolite. Under vacuum condition, this isolated species acts like a metal oxide molecule in the gas phase, and it gives the vibronically resolved spectrum that is generally seen in the vapor phase. This type of spectroscopic probe has never been observed for past M-O2 complexes. Through a combination of an isotopic experiment and quantum chemical calculations, we successfully assigned the observed vibrational fine structure as the vibronic progression in a stretching O-O vibrational structure associated with the excitation from doubly occupied δorbital to singly occupied δ∗ orbital (SOMO). This spectroscopic probe provides information on how the δchannel interaction contributes to the activation of O-O bond in an O2 molecule. The recondite vibronic progression feature was well reproduced by DFT cluster calculation assuming the square planar NiII-superoxo site, by which we successfully obtained the spectroscopically calibrated DFT cluster model that well describes NiII-superoxo δ-bond. This model revealed that NiII-superoxo δ-bond is ionic rather than covalent. The high ionicity of the δbond results in the high oxygen character in the important frontier molecular orbital (FMO) for the electrophilic oxidative reaction, i.e., the unoccupied β-spin O2-π∗ orbital. This is why that Ni ion stabilizes superoxo ligand having abnormal electrophilic reactivity. The findings in the present study provide general description of the Ni-superoxo δ-bond and maybe can help us to uncover the structure-reactivity relationships of the metalloprotein.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- General Energy
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films