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Smith, PF, Hunt L, Laursen AB, Sagar V, Kaushik S, Calvinho KU, Marotta G, Mosconi E, De Angelis F, Dismukes GC.  2015.  Water Oxidation by the [Co4O4(OAc)4(py)4](+) Cubium is Initiated by OH(-) Addition.. J Am Chem Soc. 137(49):15460-15468. Abstract
The cobalt cubium Co4O4(OAc)4(py)4(ClO4) (1A(+)) containing the mixed valence [Co4O4](5+) core is shown by multiple spectroscopic methods to react with hydroxide (OH(-)) but not with water molecules to produce O2. The yield of reaction products is stoichiometric (>99.5%): 41A(+) + 4OH(-) → O2 + 2H2O + 41A. By contrast, the structurally homologous cubium Co4O4(trans-OAc)2(bpy)4(ClO4)3, 1B(ClO4)3, produces no O2. EPR/NMR spectroscopies show clean conversion to cubane 1A during O2 evolution with no Co(2+) or Co3O4 side products. Mass spectrometry of the reaction between isotopically labeled μ-(16)O(bridging-oxo) 1A(+) and (18)O-bicarbonate/water shows (1) no exchange of (18)O into the bridging oxos of 1A(+), and (2) (36)O2 is the major product, thus requiring two OH(-) in the reactive intermediate. DFT calculations of solvated intermediates suggest that addition of two OH(-) to 1A(+) via OH(-) insertion into Co-OAc bonds is energetically favored, followed by outer-sphere oxidation to intermediate [1A(OH)2](0). The absence of O2 production by cubium 1B(3+) indicates the reactive intermediate derived from 1A(+) requires gem-1,1-dihydoxo stereochemistry to perform O-O bond formation. Outer-sphere oxidation of this intermediate by 2 equiv of 1A(+) accounts for the final stoichiometry. Collectively, these results and recent literature (Faraday Discuss., doi:10.1039/C5FD00076A and J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 12865-12872) validate the [Co4O4](4+/5+) cubane core as an intrinsic catalyst for oxidation of hydroxide by an inner-sphere mechanism.