Geometric and electronic structures of the synthetic Mn4CaO4 model compound mimicking the photosynthetic oxygen-evolving complex

Mitsuo Shoji, Hiroshi Isobe, Jian Ren Shen, Kizashi Yamaguchi

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Water oxidation by photosystem II (PSII) converts light energy into chemical energy with the concomitant production of molecular oxygen, both of which are indispensable for sustaining life on Earth. This reaction is catalyzed by an oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) embedded in the huge PSII complex, and its mechanism remains elusive in spite of the extensive studies of the geometric and electronic structures. In order to elucidate the water-splitting mechanism, synthetic approaches have been extensively employed to mimic the native OEC. Very recently, a synthetic complex [Mn4CaO4(ButCOO)8(py)(ButCOOH)2] (1) closely mimicking the structure of the native OEC was obtained. In this study, we extensively examined the geometric, electronic and spin structures of 1 using the density functional theory method. Our results showed that the geometric structure of 1 can be accurately reproduced by theoretical calculations, and revealed many similarities in the ground valence and spin states between 1 and the native OEC. We also revealed two different valence states in the one-electron oxidized state of 1 (corresponding to the S2 state), which lie in the lower and higher ground spin states (S = 1/2 and S = 5/2), respectively. One remarkable difference between 1 and the native OEC is the presence of a non-negligible antiferromagnetic interaction between the Mn1 and Mn4 sites, which slightly influenced their ground spin structures (spin alignments). The major reason causing the difference can be attributed to the short Mn1-O5 and Mn1-Mn4 distances in 1. The introduction of the missing O4 atom and the reorientation of the Ca coordinating ligands improved the Mn1-O5 and Mn1-Mn4 distances comparable to the native OEC. These modifications will therefore be important for the synthesis of further advanced model complexes more closely mimicking the native OEC beyond 1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11330-11340
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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