Bioinspired Mimicks of Photosynthetic Watersplitting. Bezoeker: Prof. T.A. Moore.


The group of Thomas Moore and colleagues has pioneered the development of biomimetic constructs for solar energy conversion. Their research is based on the observation that biological systems have evolved energy transduction mechanisms that operate at high efficiency, e.g., very low overpotentials (or activation energies) using Earth-abundant elements. Their premise is that key features of the biological photochemistry, catalysis, and control can be incorporated into artificial or hybrid system to increase the efficiency of energy production and use for technological needs. Specifically, their research in artificial photosynthesis has shown that model artificial reaction centers can be designed and synthesized that upon excitation give rise to energetic, long-lived charged separated states that rival those of the natural photosynthetic systems. Their recent work focuses on the assembly of biomimetic materials for solar cells that produce either electromotive force, protonmotive force or high chemical potential products.
In a new development, the Moore group has synthesized biology-inspired artificial systems that serve as a relay between a water-splitting catalyst and a light-driven charge separator, thus mimicking the donor side of oxygen-evolving Photosystem II. Splitting water in electrons, protons and molecular oxygen is the holy grail in artificial photosynthetic catalysis: it is the first prerequisite for biosolar fuel production at any meaningful large scale.
The bio-mimetic photosynthetic systems developed at the Moore laboratory will be experimentally analyzed using advanced laser optical spectroscopic techniques from the VU laser center (in particular femtosecond absorbance-difference and vibrational spectroscopy) to determine the pathways and mechanisms of electron and proton transfer and the yields of the various charge transfer, charge separation and loss processes within the biomimetic systems.
The proposed work will significantly advance our understanding of the physical-chemical requirements of the water splitting process in natural and artificial photosynthesis, which is a key issue in research themes that have been formulated at the Vrije Universiteit and other research institutions in The Netherlands





Prof. dr. R. van Grondelle

Verbonden aan

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Exacte Wetenschappen, Afdeling Natuurkunde & Sterrenkunde


01/10/2010 tot 03/10/2011