Bioinspired Light Escalated Chemistry (BioLEC)

Project: Research project

Description

Concise Statement of the Scientific Mission
Our mission is inspired by the way in which photosynthesis combines the energy of two or more photons to perform chemistry that is otherwise strongly uphill at equilibrium. We will employ light harvesting and advances in solar photochemistry to enable unprecedented photoinduced cross-coupling reactions that valorize abundant molecules.

Scope and Impact of the BioLEC Energy Frontier Research Center
The energy input required to transform stable and abundant molecules to valuable products is greatly reduced by the use of catalysts. A fundamental aim in catalysis is to devise new ways to convert plentiful and unreactive molecules to valuable ones for energy-relevant applications. The research proposed for the BioLEC Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) will expand our fundamental understanding of both solar photochemistry and photosynthetic systems to enable sophisticated photoinduced cross-coupling chemistry, Figure 1. The resulting breakthroughs will lead to valuable chemicals, fuels, and materials. At the frontier of this endeavor, we aim to catalyze reactions that have prohibitive energy barriers for equilibrium chemistryreactants are more stable than products. The reactions that we target are presently inconceivable using the leading edge of modern synthetic chemistry. Our approach is inspired by the way in which nature combines the energy of multiple photons to ramp up redox capability beyond that achievable with the energy from a single photon.1-5 To succeed, BioLEC brings together scientific communities that rarely interactorganic synthesis, structural and molecular biology, and physical chemistry.

The team at Arizona State University, School of Molecular Sciences, directed by Professors Ana and Thomas Moore, will produce new chemical products with new compositions relevant to carrying out the mission of the project. Examples of the structures will include either limited or extensive hydrogen bond networks and in both cases the compounds will include redox active sites, primarily based on quinone structures. These compounds will be attached to light harvesting constructs and to artificial reaction centers and catalytic sites provided by others in the EFRC. The chemistry to synthesize these structure will be done either at ASU or in the laboratories of other PIs depending on which is most expedient. Data will be produced that describes: (i) details pertinent to the synthesis of molecules and attachment to catalytic sites and light harvesting constructs coupled to artificial reaction centers, (ii) the optical, photochemical and electrochemical properties of the molecules and ensembles of them and (iii) characterization data that corroborate the structure of new molecules/constructs.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date8/1/187/31/22

Funding

  • DOE: Office of Science (OS): $719,994.00

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Molecules
Photochemical reactions
Photons
Physical chemistry
Molecular biology
Photosynthesis
Energy barriers
Electrochemical properties
Catalysis
Hydrogen bonds
Catalysts
Chemical analysis
Oxidation-Reduction