Muonium chemistry at diiron subsite analogues of [FeFe]-hydrogenase

Joseph A. Wright, Jamie N. T. Peck, Stephen P. Cottrell, Ausra Jablonskyte, Vasily S. Oganesyan, Christopher J. Pickett, Upali A. Jayasooriya

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The chemistry of metal hydrides is implicated in a range of catalytic processes at metal centres. Gaining insight into the formation of such sites by protonation and/or electronation is therefore of significant value in fully exploiting the potential of such systems. Here, we show that the muonium radical (Mu·), used as a low isotopic mass analogue of hydrogen, can be exploited to probe the early stages of hydride formation at metal centres. Mu· undergoes the same chemistry as H· and can be directly observed due to its short lifetime (in the microseconds) and unique breakdown signature. By implanting Mu· into three models of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase active site we have been able to detect key muoniated intermediates of direct relevance to the hydride chemistry of these systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14580–14583
Number of pages4
JournalAngewandte Chemie-International Edition
Issue number47
Early online date14 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2016


  • enzyme mimics
  • [FeFe]-hydrogenase
  • hydrogen
  • muonium

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