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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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Measurements and control of charge transport through single DNA Molecules via STM break junction technique

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Charge transport in molecular systems, including DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), is involved in many basic chemical and biological processes. Studying their charge transport properties can help developing DNA based electronic devices with many tunable functionalities. This thesis investigates the electric properties

Charge transport in molecular systems, including DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), is involved in many basic chemical and biological processes. Studying their charge transport properties can help developing DNA based electronic devices with many tunable functionalities. This thesis investigates the electric properties of double-stranded DNA, DNA G-quadruplex and dsDNA with modified base.

First, double-stranded DNA with alternating GC sequence and stacked GC sequence were measured with respect to length. The resistance of DNA sequences increases linearly with length, indicating a hopping transport mechanism. However, for DNA sequences with stacked GC, a periodic oscillation is superimposed on the linear length dependence, indicating a partial coherent transport. The result is supported by the finding of delocalization of the highest occupied molecular orbitals of Guanines from theoretical simulation and by fitting based on the Büttiker’s theory.

Then, a DNA G4-duplex structures with a G-quadruplex as the core and DNA duplexes as the arms were studied. Similar conductance values were observed by varying the linker positions, thus a charge splitter is developed. The conductance of the DNA G-tetrads structures was found to be sensitive to the π-stacking at the interface between the G-quadruplex and DNA duplexes by observing a higher conductance value when one duplex was removed and a polyethylene glycol (PEG) linker was added into the interface. This was further supported by molecular dynamic simulations.

Finally, a double-stranded DNA with one of the bases replaced by an anthraquinone group was studied via electrochemical STM break junction technique. Anthraquinone can be reversibly switched into the oxidized state or reduced state, to give a low conductance or high conductance respectively. Furthermore, the thermodynamics and kinetics properties of the switching were systematically studied. Theoretical simulation shows that the difference between the two states is due to a difference in the energy alignment with neighboring Guanine bases.

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2016

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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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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