Molecularly Functionalized Electrodes for Efficient Electrochemical Water Remediation

Xiang He, Michael S. Eberhart, Alex B.F. Martinson, David M. Tiede, Karen L. Mulfort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development and investigation of materials that leverage unique interfacial effects on electronic structure and redox chemistry are likely to play an outstanding role in advanced technologies for wastewater treatment. Here, the use of surface functionalization of metal oxides with a RuIIpoly(pyridyl) complex was reported as a way to create hybrid assemblies with optimized electrochemical performance for water remediation, superior to those that could be achieved with the molecular catalyst or metal-oxide electrodes used individually. Mechanistic analysis demonstrated that the molecularly functionalized electrodes could suppress the formation of hydroxyl radicals (i. e., the dominant remediation pathway for bare metal-oxide electrodes), allowing the water remediation to proceed through the highly oxidizing Ru3+ ions in the surface-bound complexes. Furthermore, the underlying metal-oxide substrates played a crucial role in altering the electronic structure and electrochemical properties of the surface-bound catalyst, such that the competing side reaction (i. e., water splitting) was largely inhibited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3267-3276
Number of pages10
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 23 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Energy


  • catalyst immobilization
  • hydroxyl radicals
  • pollutant degradation
  • sustainable chemistry
  • water remediation


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