Understanding supramolecular architectures in photosynthesis by space and time resolved spectroscopy

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Understanding supramolecular architectures in photosynthesis by space and time resolved spectroscopy Understanding supramolecular architectures in photosynthesis by space and time resolved spectroscopy 70% of mankinds current energy needs are met by burning fossil fuels. This is already problematic since oil and gas supplies are limited and because of the adverse environmental affects of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Moreover this situation is set to get worse as current predictions estimate that our energy needs will double by 2050. Mankind is, therefore, facing a major challenge to find new ways of creating clean, renewable fuels. One potentially abundant source of energy is solar radiation. More energy strikes the earth surface every hour than mankind uses each year. The problem is how to harness such an abundant yet diffuse source of energy. Photosynthesis has evolved mechanisms to achieve this. Conceptually photosynthesis can be divided into the following partial reactions, light-harvesting (concentration), charge-separation (conversion of solar energy into chemical energy) and then multi-electron catalysis that takes electrons from water and uses them to reduce carbon dioxide to carbohydrates (fuel). Any proposed strategies that set out to mimic this process in order to make solar fuels must begin with a light-harvesting or light-concentration step. We know a great deal about the structure and function of photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes as individual molecules, but rather little is known about how when they are organized into supra-molecular assemblies, within their photosynthetic membranes, their overall function is affected in vivo. Tackling this topic is the main aim of this proposal. We wish to understand how the supra-molecular arrangement of the light-harvesting apparatus relates to overall light-harvesting efficiency and to be able to translate this information to inform the design of robust artificial light-harvesting arrays that can, in the long term, be used in devices for producing solar fuels. Photosynthetic antenna complexes are organised on the nanoscale and a major question is how to translate information gained from this nanoscale to inform the design of mesoscale light-harvesting devices. This question is at the core of this proposal.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/1/098/31/13

Funding

  • OTHER: Foreign Other: $330,000.00

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