Thiocyanate linkage isomerism in a ruthenium polypyridyl complex.
ABSTRACT Ruthenium polypyridyl complexes have seen extensive use in solar energy applications. One of the most efficient dye-sensitized solar cells produced to date employs the dye-sensitizer N719, a ruthenium polypyridyl thiocyanate complex. Thiocyanate complexes are typically present as an inseparable mixture of N-bound and S-bound linkage isomers. Here we report the synthesis of a new complex, [Ru(terpy)(tbbpy)SCN][SbF(6)] (terpy = 2,2';6',2''-terpyridine, tbbpy = 4,4'-di-tert-butyl-2,2'-bipyridine), as a mixture of N-bound and S-bound thiocyanate linkage isomers that can be separated based on their relative solubility in ethanol. Both isomers have been characterized spectroscopically and by X-ray crystallography. At elevated temperatures the isomers equilibrate, the product being significantly enriched in the more thermodynamically stable N-bound form. Density functional theory analysis supports our experimental observation that the N-bound isomer is thermodynamically preferred, and provides insight into the isomerization mechanism.