Tris and Phenanthroline Cobalt Ions


Jan 29, 2023

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Cobalt is not just a good conductor of electricity; it’s also a pretty damn ferromagnetic metal and has a number of industrial uses ranging from high-strength superalloys to dye sensitized solar cells. The redox-inactive tris (1,10-phenanthroline) cobalt (III) is a useful catalyst and hole-conductor for p-dopants in dye-sensitized solar cells. In addition to the usual suspects, the cobalt phosphate has been used in thin film deposition and LED manufacturing. Its name is derived from the German word Kobold. This is not a bad thing, as the sassy metal is widely available on the open market.

As for the tris (1,10-phenanthroline)cobalt (III) ions, the best way to illustrate their chemistry is to show them off in a multi-step titration in 1M sodium sulfate. Fortunately, the tris is redox-inactive and oxidation will only slow down the process, so preparation and titration of the tris ions was not a problem. Having said that, titration of tris ions in aqueous sodium sulfate is not something that should be done in a rush. Tris is a tricky molecule to work with, so a careful titration and sulfation procedure are recommended.

Similarly, tris (1,10-phenanthroline)cobalt(II) ions, though less luminous in the chemical universe, are worthy of a closer inspection. A closer look at the polarograms will reveal a distinct deformation and an inflection in the logarithmic plot. What’s more, the ionic strength of the ions is regulated, so there’s no risk of a nasty chemical reaction. One final note: a thorough titration and sulfation is the only surefire way to prevent cobalt from forming a hydrogenated sulfate.

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