Bart M. Bartlett - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Combining redox mediators with photo- and/or electro-active materials is a promising platform for synthesizing higher value products from biomass feedstocks. In this talk, I will highlight several discoveries in my lab using nitrate and chloride anions as redox mediators for oxidizing benzyl alcohol, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural, and ethanol on cadmium sulfide photocatalysts, tungsten oxide photoelectrodes, or glassy carbon electrodes. Although the photocatalytic and photo(electro)chemical reaction pathways differ, a common thread is that a potent oxidant (nitrate radical or hypochlorite ion) is generated at the solid/solution interface. These oxidants subsequently react with the alcohol substrate in solution to regenerate nitrate- or chloride anion, and the alcohol oxidation reactions proceed with near quantitative yield based on the number of electrons passed at the solid/solution interface. This approach expands the reaction scope of solar energy conversion for performing organic oxidations.