Reversible Reduction of Oxygen to Peroxide Facilitated by Molecular Recognition

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Science  27 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6067, pp. 450-453
DOI: 10.1126/science.1212678

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Generation of soluble sources of peroxide dianion (O22–) is a challenge in dioxygen chemistry. The oxidizing nature of this anion renders its stabilization in organic media difficult. This Report describes the chemically reversible reduction of oxygen (O2) to cryptand-encapsulated O22–. The dianion is stabilized by strong hydrogen bonds to N-H groups from the hexacarboxamide cryptand. Analogous stabilization of peroxide by hydrogen bonding has been invoked recently in crystalline saccharide and protein systems. The present peroxide adducts are stable at room temperature in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and N,N′-dimethylformamide (DMF). These adducts can be obtained in gram quantities from the cryptand-driven disproportionation reaction of potassium superoxide (KO2) at room temperature.

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