The activation processes of [CuII(bdmpza)2] in the water oxidation reaction were investigated using cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry. Two different paths wherein CuO is formed were distinguished. [CuII(bdmpza)2] can be oxidized at high potentials to form CuO, which was observed by a slight increase in catalytic current over time. When [CuII(bdmpza)2] is initially reduced at low potentials, a more active water oxidation catalyst is generated, yielding high catalytic currents from the moment a sufficient potential is applied. This work highlights the importance of catalyst pre-treatment and the choice of the experimental conditions in water oxidation catalysis using copper complexes.
van der Ham, C. J. M., Işık, F., Verhoeven, T. W. G. M., Niemantsverdriet, J. W. (Hans), & Hetterscheid, D. G. H. (2017). Activation pathways taking place at molecular copper precatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction. Catalysis Today, 290, 33–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2016.12.042