[FeFe]-Hydrogenase Mimetic Metallopolymers with Enhanced Catalytic Activity for Hydrogen Production in Water

William P. Brezinski, Metin Karayilan, Kayla E. Clary, Nicholas G. Pavlopoulos, Sipei Li, Liye Fu, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Dennis H. Evans, Richard S. Glass, Dennis L. Lichtenberger, Jeffrey Pyun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Electrocatalytic [FeFe]-hydrogenase mimics for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) generally suffer from low activity, high overpotential, aggregation, oxygen sensitivity, and low solubility in water. By using atom-transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), a new class of [FeFe]-metallopolymers with precise molar mass, defined composition, and low polydispersity, has been prepared. The synthetic methodology introduced here allows facile variation of polymer composition to optimize the [FeFe] solubility, activity, and long-term chemical and aerobic stability. Water soluble functional metallopolymers facilitate electrocatalytic hydrogen production in neutral water with loadings as low as 2 ppm and operate at rates an order of magnitude faster than hydrogenases (2.5×105 s−1), and with low overpotential requirement. Furthermore, unlike the hydrogenases, these systems are insensitive to oxygen during catalysis, with turnover numbers on the order of 40 000 under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11898-11902
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 10 2018


  • electrocatalysis
  • enzymes
  • hydrogen
  • metallopolymers
  • polymerization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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