What is it about?

A Cu(II)→Cu(I) reduction within one molecule and without any external reducing agents is unveiled for the first time by integrated experimental /theoretical analyses.

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Why is it important?

Molecular-level understanding of complex chemical events may greatly help to optimize processes of great technological relevance, such as the production of nanomaterials from molecular precursors. Since very little information is directly accessible to experimental analytic techniques, these transformation processes are unfortunately still largely oscure. For example, the production of copper(I) oxide materials from copper(II) complexes in the absence of any explicit reducing agent - observed in many experiments, even under oxidizing conditions - remained unexplained for many years. For the first time, our work explained such event and revealed a new family of Copper(I) compounds showing a characteristic ring shape.


Our case study was a copper complex used in the production of copper oxide nanostructures via chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Nonetheless, other reactions involving similar intramolecular reduction and cyclization processes have appeared in the literature, even not related with CVD processes. I think, therefore, that the mechanism of the Cu(II) to Cu(I) reduction found in our work should be a general property of copper, which might help to understand its redox reactivity.

Gloria Tabacchi
university of insubria

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This page is a summary of: How Does CuII Convert into CuI? An Unexpected Ring-Mediated Single-Electron Reduction, Chemistry - A European Journal, August 2011, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/chem.201101551.
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