Photoinduced electronic and structural changes of a hydrogen-generating supramolecular RuPt photocatalyst are studied by a combination of time-resolved photoluminescence, optical transient absorption, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. This work uses the element specificity of X-ray techniques to focus on the interplay between the photophysical and -chemical processes and the associated time scales at the catalytic Pt moiety. We observe very fast (<30 ps) photoreduction of the Pt catalytic site, followed by an ∼600 ps step into a strongly oxidized Pt center. The latter process is likely induced by oxidative addition of reactive iodine species. The oxidized Pt species is long-lived and fully recovers to the original ground state complex on a >10 μs time scale. However, the photosensitizing Ru moiety is fully restored on a much shorter ∼300 ns time scale. This reaction scheme implies that we may withdraw two electrons from a catalyst that is activated by a single photon.
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