Non-emissive RuII Polypyridyl Complexes as Efficient and Selective Photosensitizers for the Photooxidation of Benzylamines

Cristina Yagüe, Igor Echevarría, Mónica Vaquero, Jairo Fidalgo, Arancha Carbayo, Félix A. Jalón, João C. Lima, Artur J. Moro, Blanca R. Manzano, Gustavo Espino

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Five new RuII polypyridyl complexes bearing N-(arylsulfonyl)-8-amidoquinolate ligands and three of their biscyclometalated IrIII congeners have been prepared and employed as photocatalysts (PCs) in the photooxidation of benzylamines with O2. In particular, the new RuII complexes do not exhibit photoluminescence, rather they harvest visible light efficiently and are very stable in solution under irradiation with blue light. Their non-emissive behavior has been related to the low electrochemical energy gaps and rationalized on the basis of theoretical calculations (DFT analysis) that predict low S0←T1 energy values. Moreover, the RuII complexes, despite being non-emissive, display excellent activities in the selective photocatalytic transformation of benzylamines into the corresponding imines. The presence of an electron-withdrawing group (-CF3) on the arene ring of the N-(arylsulfonyl)-8-amidoquinolate ligand improves the photocatalytic activity of the corresponding photocatalyst. Furthermore, all the experimental evidence, including transient absorption spectroscopy measurements suggest that singlet oxygen is the actual oxidant. The IrIII analogues are considerably more photosensitive and consequently less efficient photosensitizers (PSs).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12219-12232
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number53
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2020


  • photocatalysis
  • photooxidation of amines
  • Ru polypyridyl complexes
  • singlet oxygen
  • sulfonamides


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