This LO is an in-class assignment to prepare students for literature readings involving catalytic cycles in which multiple protons and electrons are transferred. Two catalytic mechanisms, a proposed OEC mechanism and the proposed mechanism of a biomimetic OEC complexes are included. The intermediates are drawn including all charges and oxidation states, details which are sometimes omitted in the primary literature but can be helpful to students who are not accustomed to looking at multistep catalytic cycles. Students are then asked to add in the substrates and products entering and leaving the catalytic cycle. While this is, at its heart, a stoichiometry excercise, it helps calibrate students for the level of attention to detail needed to effectively engage with reading about bioinorganic catalytic mechanisms.
After completing this activity:
A student will be able to follow along with each step in proposed water oxidation mechanims in the literature.
A student will be able to apply their knowledge of stoichiomety to complex catalytic cycles involving electron transfer.
A student will be able to analyze and compare the details of catalytic cycles.
I used this activity during a lab lecture before an inorganic laboratory experiment in which students would be preparing and testing an OEC mimic. The procedure we used was roughly based on a published procedure (J. Chem Ed. 2005, 82, 791) linked in web resources.
I began the class period with a brief introduction to the chemistry of photosynthesis and where water oxidation and PSII fit in the broader picture. I then introduced the mimic that students would be preparing and the chemistry of the Oxone (R) triple salt.
Students then worked in groups to complete this activity and discuss their structural and mechanistic observations. After the activity they were encouraged to read the papers referenced in the activity and to think about the evidence that supports the proposed mechanism.
Other implementation options:
While I used this activity as part of a lab lecture it could also be used to stimulate a discussion comparing structure/mechanism of biological and biomimetic systems in a lecture setting without the accompaning laboratory work.
This could also be modified for use as an equation balancing excercise in a majors or honors general chemistry course.
I did not grade this activity.
Three students out of 14 explicitly mentioned that this activity was helpful on the free response section of the course evaluations.