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Dyadic and triadic porphyrin monomers for electropolymerization and pyrazine-containing architectures for solar energy harvesting and mediating photoinduced electron transfer

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Natural photosynthesis dedicates specific proteins to achieve the modular division of the essential roles of solar energy harvesting, charge separation and carrier transport within natural photosynthesis. The modern understanding of the fundamental photochemistry by which natural photosynthesis operates is well

Natural photosynthesis dedicates specific proteins to achieve the modular division of the essential roles of solar energy harvesting, charge separation and carrier transport within natural photosynthesis. The modern understanding of the fundamental photochemistry by which natural photosynthesis operates is well advanced and solution state mimics of the key photochemical processes have been reported previously. All of the early events in natural photosynthesis responsible for the conversion of solar energy to electric potential energy occur within proteins and phospholipid membranes that act as scaffolds for arranging the active chromophores. Accordingly, for creating artificial photovoltaic (PV) systems, scaffolds are required to imbue structure to the systems. An approach to incorporating modular design into solid-state organic mimics of the natural system is presented together with how conductive scaffolds can be utilized in organic PV systems. To support the chromophore arrays present within this design and to extract separated charges from within the structure, linear pyrazine-containing molecular ribbons were chosen as candidates for forming conductive linear scaffolds that could be functionalized orthogonally to the linear axis. A series of donor-wire-acceptor (D-W-A) compounds employing porphyrins as the donors and a C60 fullerene adduct as the acceptors have been synthesized for studying the ability of the pyrazine-containing hetero-aromatic wires to mediate photoinduced electron transfer between the porphyrin donor and fullerene acceptor. Appropriate substitutions were made and the necessary model compounds useful for dissecting the complex photochemistry that the series is expected to display were also synthesized. A dye was synthesized using a pyrazine-containing heteroaromatic spacer that features two porphyrin chromophores. The dye dramatically outperforms the control dye featuring the same porphyrin and a simple benzoic acid linker. A novel, highly soluble 6+kDa extended phthalocyanine was also synthesized and exhibits absorption out to 900nm. The extensive functionalization of the extended phthalocyanine core with dodecyl groups enabled purification and characterization of an otherwise insoluble entity. Finally, in the interest of incorporating modular design into plastic solar cells, a series of porphyrin-containing monomers have been synthesized that are intended to form dyadic and triadic molecular-heterojunction polymers with dedicated hole and electron transport pathways during electrochemical polymerization.

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2013

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Intelligent Input Parser for Organic Chemistry Reagent Questions

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Due to its difficult nature, organic chemistry is receiving much research attention across the nation to develop more efficient and effective means to teach it. As part of that, Dr. Ian Gould at ASU is developing an online organic chemistry

Due to its difficult nature, organic chemistry is receiving much research attention across the nation to develop more efficient and effective means to teach it. As part of that, Dr. Ian Gould at ASU is developing an online organic chemistry educational website that provides help to students, adapts to their responses, and collects data about their performance. This thesis creative project addresses the design and implementation of an input parser for organic chemistry reagent questions, to appear on his website. After students used the form to submit questions throughout the Spring 2013 semester in Dr. Gould's organic chemistry class, the data gathered from their usage was analyzed, and feedback was collected. The feedback obtained from students was positive, and suggested that the input parser accomplished the educational goals that it sought to meet.

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2013-05

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Design and synthesis of artificial photosynthetic molecules to mimic aspects of natural photosynthetic mechanisms

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Natural photosynthesis features a complex biophysical/chemical process that requires sunlight to produce energy rich products. It is one of the most important processes responsible for the appearance and sustainability of life on earth. The first part of the thesis focuses

Natural photosynthesis features a complex biophysical/chemical process that requires sunlight to produce energy rich products. It is one of the most important processes responsible for the appearance and sustainability of life on earth. The first part of the thesis focuses on understanding the mechanisms involved in regulation of light harvesting, which is necessary to balance the absorption and utilization of light energy and in that way reduce the effect caused by photooxidative damage. In photosynthesis, carotenoids are responsible not only for collection of light, but also play a major role in protecting the photosynthetic system. To investigate the role of carotenoids in the quenching of the excited state of cyclic tetrapyrroles, two sets of dyads were studied. Both sets of dyads contain zinc phthalocyanine (Pc) covalently attached to carotenoids of varying conjugation lengths. In the first set of dyads, carotenoids were attached to the phthalocyanine via amide linkage. This set of dyads serves as a good model for understanding the molecular "gear-shift" mechanism, where the addition of one double bond can turn the carotenoid from a nonquencher to a very strong quencher of the excited state of a tetrapyrrole. In the second set of dyads, carotenoids were attached to phthalocyanine via a phenyl amino group. Two independent studies were performed on these dyads: femtosecond transient absorption and steady state fluorescence induced by two-photon excitation. In the transient absorption study it was observed that there is an instantaneous population of the carotenoid S1 state after Pc excitation, while two-photon excitation of the optically forbidden carotenoid S1 state shows 1Pc population. Both observations provide a strong indication of the existence of a shared excitonic state between carotenoid and Pc. Similar results were observed in LHC II complexes in plants, supporting the role of such interactions in photosynthetic down regulation. In the second chapter we describe the synthesis of porphyrin dyes functionalized with carboxylate and phosphonate anchoring groups to be used in the construction of photoelectrochemical cells containing a porphyrin-IrO2·nH2O complex immobilized on a TiO2 electrode. The research presented here is a step in the development of high potential porphyrin-metal oxide complexes to be used in the photooxidation of water. The last chapter focuses on developing synthetic strategies for the construction of an artificial antenna system consisting of porphyrin-silver nanoparticle conjugates, linked by DNA of varied length to study the distance dependence of the interaction between nanoparticles and the porphyrin chromophore. Preliminary studies indicate that at the distance of about 7-10 nm between porphyrin and silver nanoparticle is where the porphyrin absorption leading to fluorescence shows maximum enhancement. These new hybrid constructs will be helpful for designing efficient light harvesting systems.

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2011

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Photoprotective & solar light collecting biomimetic molecules

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The first chapter reviews three decades of artificial photosynthetic research conducted by the A. Moore, T. Moore, and D. Gust research group. Several carotenoid (Car) and tetrapyrrole containing molecules were synthesized and investigated for excitation energy transfer (EET), photoregulation, and

The first chapter reviews three decades of artificial photosynthetic research conducted by the A. Moore, T. Moore, and D. Gust research group. Several carotenoid (Car) and tetrapyrrole containing molecules were synthesized and investigated for excitation energy transfer (EET), photoregulation, and photoprotective functions. These artificial photosynthetic compounds mimicked known processes and investigated proposed mechanisms in natural systems. This research leads to a greater understanding of photosynthesis and design concepts for organic based solar energy conversion devices. The second and third chapters analyze the triplet energy transfer in carotenoid containing dyads. Transient absorption, time-resolved FTIR and resonance Raman spectra revealed that in a 4-amide linked carotenophthalocyanine dyads the Car triplet state is shared across the larger conjugated system, which is similar to protein complexes in oxygenic photosynthetic organisms. In a carotenopurpurin dyad (CarPur) a methylene ester covalent bond prevents the purpurin (Pur) from influencing the Car triplet based on the transient absorption, time-resolved FTIR and resonance Raman spectra. Thus CarPur resembles the antenna proteins from anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria. Additional examples of carotenoporphyrin dyads further demonstrates the need for orbital overlap for ultrafast triplet energy transfer and the formations of possible intramolecular charge transfer state. The fourth chapter studies a 4-amino phenyl carotenophthalocyanine and its model compounds using high temporal resolution transient absorption spectroscopy techniques. EET from the Car second excited (S2) state to the phthalocyanine (Pc) was determined to be 37% and a coupled hot ground state (S*)/Pc excited state spectrum was observed. Excitation of the tetrapyrrole portion of the dyad did not yield any kinetic differences, but there was an S* signal during the excited states of the dyad. This demonstrates the EET and photoregulating properties of this artificial photosynthetic compound are similar to those of natural photosynthesis. The last chapter covers the synthesis of silicon Pc (SiPc) dyes and the methods for attaching them to gold nanoparticles and flat gold surfaces. SiPc attached to patterned gold surfaces had unperturbed fluorescence, however the selectivity for the gold was low, so alternative materials are under investigation to improve the dye's selectivity for the gold surface.

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2014

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Design and synthesis of organic molecular models of artificial photosynthetic reaction center

Description

A clean and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels is solar energy. For efficient use of solar energy to be realized, artificial systems that can effectively capture and convert sunlight into a usable form of energy have to be developed. In

A clean and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels is solar energy. For efficient use of solar energy to be realized, artificial systems that can effectively capture and convert sunlight into a usable form of energy have to be developed. In natural photosynthesis, antenna chlorophylls and carotenoids capture sunlight and transfer the resulting excitation energy to the photosynthetic reaction center (PRC). Small reorganization energy, λ and well-balanced electronic coupling between donors and acceptors in the PRC favor formation of a highly efficient charge-separated (CS) state. By covalently linking electron/energy donors to acceptors, organic molecular dyads and triads that mimic natural photosynthesis were synthesized and studied. Peripherally linked free base phthalocyanine (Pc)-fullerene (C60) and a zinc (Zn) phthalocyanine-C60 dyads were synthesized. Photoexcitation of the Pc moiety resulted in singlet-singlet energy transfer to the attached C60, followed by electron transfer. The lifetime of the CS state was 94 ps. Linking C60 axially to silicon (Si) Pc, a lifetime of the CS state of 4.5 ns was realized. The exceptionally long-lived CS state of the SiPc-C60 dyad qualifies it for applications in solar energy conversion devices. A secondary electron donor was linked to the dyad to obtain a carotenoid (Car)-SiPc-C60 triad and ferrocene (Fc)-SiPc-C60 triad. Excitation of the SiPc moiety resulted in fast electron transfer from the Car or Fc secondary electron donors to the C60. The lifetime of the CS state was 17 ps and 1.2 ps in Car-SiPc-C60 and Fc-SiPc-C60, respectively. In Chapter 3, an efficient synthetic route that yielded regioselective oxidative porphyrin dimerization is presented. Using Cu2+ as the oxidant, meso-β doubly-connected fused porphyrin dimers were obtained in very high yields. Removal of the copper from the macrocycle affords a free base porphyrin dimer. This allows for exchange of metals and provides a route to a wider range of metallporphyrin dimers. In Chapter 4, the development of an efficient and an expedient route to bacteriopurpurin synthesis is discussed. Meso-10,20- diformylation of porphyrin was achieved and one-pot porphyrin diacrylate synthesis and cyclization to afford bacteriopurpurin was realized. The bacteriopurpurin had a reduction potential of - 0.85 V vs SCE and λmax, 845 nm.

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Date Created
2014

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DNA based artificial light-harvesting antenna

Description

Scientists around the world have been striving to develop artificial light-harvesting antenna model systems for energy and other light-driven biochemical applications. Among the various approaches to achieve this goal, one of the most promising is the assembly of structurally well-defined

Scientists around the world have been striving to develop artificial light-harvesting antenna model systems for energy and other light-driven biochemical applications. Among the various approaches to achieve this goal, one of the most promising is the assembly of structurally well-defined artificial light-harvesting antennas based on the principles of structural DNA nanotechnology. DNA has recently emerged as an extremely efficient material to organize molecules such as fluorophores and proteins on the nanoscale. It is desirable to develop a hybrid smart material by combining artificial antenna systems based on DNA with natural reaction center components, so that the material can be engineered to convert light energy to chemical energy via formation of a charge-separated state.

Presented here are a series of studies toward this goal. First, self-assembled seven-helix DNA bundles (7HB) with cyclic arrays of three distinct chromophores were developed. The spectral properties and energy transfer mechanisms in the artificial light-harvesting antenna were studied extensively using steady-state and time-resolved methods. Next, engineered cysteine residues in the reaction center of the purple photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides were each covalently conjugated to fluorophores in order to explore the spectral requirements for energy transfer between an artificial light harvesting system and the reaction center. Finally, a structurally well-defined and spectrally tunable artificial light-harvesting system was constructed, where multiple organic dyes were conjugated to 3-arm DNA nanostructure. A reaction center protein isolated from the purple photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides was linked to one end of the 3-arm junction to serve as the final acceptor, which converts the photonic energy absorbed by the chromophores into chemical energy by charge separation. This type of model system is required to understand how parameters such as geometry, spectral characteristics of the dyes, and conformational flexibility affect energy transfer, and can be used to inform the development of more complex model light-harvesting systems.

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2014

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Synthesis and photophysical characterization of an artificial photosynthetic reaction center exhibiting acid-responsive regulation of charge separation

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Non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) is a photoprotective regulatory mechanism essential to the robustness of the photosynthetic apparatus of green plants. Energy flow within the low-light adapted reaction centers is dynamically optimized to match the continuously fluctuating light conditions found in nature.

Non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) is a photoprotective regulatory mechanism essential to the robustness of the photosynthetic apparatus of green plants. Energy flow within the low-light adapted reaction centers is dynamically optimized to match the continuously fluctuating light conditions found in nature. Activated by compartmentalized decreases in pH resulting from photosynthetic activity during periods of elevated photon flux, NPQ induces rapid thermal dissipation of excess excitation energy that would otherwise overwhelm the apparatus’s ability to consume it. Consequently, the frequency of charge separation decreases and the formation of potentially deleterious, high-energy intermediates slows, thereby reducing the threat of photodamage by disallowing their accumulation. Herein is described the synthesis and photophysical analysis of a molecular triad that mimics the effects of NPQ on charge separation within the photosynthetic reaction centers. Steady-state absorption and emission, time-resolved fluorescence, and transient absorption spectroscopies were used to demonstrate reversible quenching of the first singlet excited state affecting the quantum yield of charge separation by approximately one order of magnitude. As in the natural system, the populations of unquenched and quenched states and, therefore, the overall yields of charge separation were found to be dependent upon acid concentration.

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2015

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Mutations that affect the bidirectional electron transfer in photosystem I

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Photosystem I (PSI) is a multi-subunit, pigment-protein complex that catalyzes light-driven electron transfer (ET) in its bi-branched reaction center (RC). Recently it was suggested that the initial charge separation (CS) event can take place independently within each ec2/ec3 chlorophyll pair.

Photosystem I (PSI) is a multi-subunit, pigment-protein complex that catalyzes light-driven electron transfer (ET) in its bi-branched reaction center (RC). Recently it was suggested that the initial charge separation (CS) event can take place independently within each ec2/ec3 chlorophyll pair. In order to improve our understanding of this phenomenon, we have generated new mutations in the PsaA and PsaB subunits near the electron transfer cofactor 2 (ec2 chlorophyll). PsaA-Asn604 accepts a hydrogen bond from the water molecule that is the axial ligand of ec2B and the case is similar for PsaB-Asn591 and ec2A. The second set of targeted sites was PsaA-Ala684 and PsaB-Ala664, whose methyl groups are present near ec2A and ec2B, respectively. We generated a number of mutants by targeting the selected protein residues. These mutations were expected to alter the energetics of the primary charge separation event.

The PsaA-A684N mutants exhibited increased ET on the B-branch as compared to the A-branch in both in vivo and in vitro conditions. The transient electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy revealed the formation of increased B-side radical pair (RP) at ambient and cryogenic temperatures. The ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy and fluorescence decay measurement of the PsaA-A684N and PsaB-A664N showed a slight deceleration of energy trapping. Thus making mutations near ec2 on each branch resulted into modulation of the charge separation process. In the second set of mutants, where ec2 cofactor was target by substitution of PsaA-Asn604 or PsaB-Asn591 to other amino acids, a drop in energy trapping was observed. The quantum yield of CS decreases in Asn to Leu and His mutants on the respective branch. The P700 triplet state was not observed at room and cryogenic temperature for these mutants, nor was a rapid decay of P700+ in the nanosecond timescale, indicating that the mutations do not cause a blockage of electron transfer from the ec3 Chl. Time-resolved fluorescence results showed a decrease in the lifetime of the energy trapping. We interpret this decrease in lifetime as a new channel of excitation energy decay, in which the untrapped energy dissipates as heat through a fast internal conversion process. Thus, a variety of spectroscopic measurements of PSI with point mutations near the ec2 cofactor further support that the ec2 cofactor is involved in energy trapping process.

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2014