Matching Items (21)

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A computational and theoretical study of conductance in hydrogen-bonded molecular junctions

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This thesis is devoted to the theoretical and computational study of electron transport in molecular junctions where one or more hydrogen bonds are involved in the process. While electron transport

This thesis is devoted to the theoretical and computational study of electron transport in molecular junctions where one or more hydrogen bonds are involved in the process. While electron transport through covalent bonds has been extensively studied, in recent work the focus has been shifted towards hydrogen-bonded systems due to their ubiquitous presence in biological systems and their potential in forming nano- junctions between molecular electronic devices and biological systems.

This analysis allows us to significantly expand our comprehension of the experimentally observed result that the inclusion of hydrogen bonding in a molecular junc- tion significantly impacts its transport properties, a fact that has important implications for our understanding of transport through DNA, and nano-biological interfaces in general. In part of this work I have explored the implications of quasiresonant transport in short chains of weakly-bonded molecular junctions involving hydrogen bonds. I used theoretical and computational analysis to interpret recent experiments and explain the role of Fano resonances in the transmission properties of the junction.

In a different direction, I have undertaken the study of the transversal conduction through nucleotide chains that involve a variable number of different hydrogen bonds, e.g. NH···O, OH···O, and NH···N, which are the three most prevalent hydrogen bonds in biological systems and organic electronics. My effort here has fo- cused on the analysis of electronic descriptors that allow a simplified conceptual and computational understanding of transport properties. Specifically, I have expanded our previous work where the molecular polarizability was used as a conductance de- scriptor to include the possibility of atomic and bond partitions of the molecular polarizability. This is important because it affords an alternative molecular descrip- tion of conductance that is not based on the conventional view of molecular orbitals as transport channels. My findings suggest that the hydrogen-bond networks are crucial in understanding the conductance of these junctions.

A broader impact of this work pertains the fact that characterizing transport through hydrogen bonding networks may help in developing faster and cost-effective approaches to personalized medicine, to advance DNA sequencing and implantable electronics, and to progress in the design and application of new drugs.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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The role of protein dielectric relaxation on modulating the electron transfer process in photosynthetic reaction centers

Description

The photosynthetic reaction center is a type of pigment-protein complex found widely in photosynthetic bacteria, algae and higher plants. Its function is to convert the energy of sunlight into a

The photosynthetic reaction center is a type of pigment-protein complex found widely in photosynthetic bacteria, algae and higher plants. Its function is to convert the energy of sunlight into a chemical form that can be used to support other life processes. The high efficiency and structural simplicity make the bacterial reaction center a paradigm for studying electron transfer in biomolecules. This thesis starts with a comparison of the primary electron transfer process in the reaction centers from the Rhodobacter shperoides bacterium and those from its thermophilic homolog, Chloroflexus aurantiacus. Different temperature dependences in the primary electron transfer were found in these two type of reaction centers. Analyses of the structural differences between these two proteins suggested that the excess surface charged amino acids as well as a larger solvent exposure area in the Chloroflexus aurantiacus reaction center could explain the different temperature depenence. The conclusion from this work is that the electrostatic interaction potentially has a major effect on the electron transfer. Inspired by these results, a single point mutant was designed for Rhodobacter shperoides reaction centers by placing an ionizable amino acid in the protein interior to perturb the dielectrics. The ionizable group in the mutation site largely deprotonated in the ground state judging from the cofactor absorption spectra as a function of pH. By contrast, a fast charge recombination assoicated with protein dielectric relaxation was observed in this mutant, suggesting the possibility that dynamic protonation/deprotonation may be taking place during the electron transfer. The fast protein dielectric relaxation occuring in this mutant complicates the electron transfer pathway and reduces the yield of electron transfer to QA. Considering the importance of the protein dielectric environment, efforts have been made in quantifying variations of the internal field during charge separation. An analysis protocol based on the Stark effect of reaction center cofactor spectra during charge separation has been developed to characterize the charge-separated radical field acting on probe chromophores. The field change, monitored by the dynamic Stark shift, correlates with, but is not identical to, the electron transfer kinetics. The dynamic Stark shift results have lead to a dynamic model for the time-dependent dielectric that is complementary to the static dielectric asymmetry observed in past steady state experiments. Taken together, the work in this thesis emphasizes the importance of protein electrostatics and its dielectric response to electron transfer.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Charge transport in single molecules

Description

Studying charge transport through single molecules is of great importance for unravelling charge transport mechanisms, investigating fundamentals of chemistry, and developing functional building blocks in molecular electronics.

First, a study of

Studying charge transport through single molecules is of great importance for unravelling charge transport mechanisms, investigating fundamentals of chemistry, and developing functional building blocks in molecular electronics.

First, a study of the thermoelectric effect in single DNA molecules is reported. By varying the molecular length and sequence, the charge transport in DNA was tuned to either a hopping- or tunneling-dominated regimes. In the hopping regime, the thermoelectric effect is small and insensitive to the molecular length. Meanwhile, in the tunneling regime, the thermoelectric effect is large and sensitive to the length. These findings indicate that by varying its sequence and length, the thermoelectric effect in DNA can be controlled. The experimental results are then described in terms of hopping and tunneling charge transport models.

Then, I showed that the electron transfer reaction of a single ferrocene molecule can be controlled with a mechanical force. I monitor the redox state of the molecule from its characteristic conductance, detect the switching events of the molecule from reduced to oxidized states with the force, and determine a negative shift of ~34 mV in the redox potential under force. The theoretical modeling is in good agreement with the observations, and reveals the role of the coupling between the electronic states and structure of the molecule.

Finally, conclusions and perspectives were discussed to point out the implications of the above works and future studies that can be performed based on the findings.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Photoprotective & solar light collecting biomimetic molecules

Description

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

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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Date Created
  • 2014

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Beta-cyanoporphyrins: their synthesis and applications in molecular systems for artificial photosynthesis

Description

As sunlight is an ideal source of energy on a global scale, there are several approaches being developed to harvest it and convert it to a form that can be

As sunlight is an ideal source of energy on a global scale, there are several approaches being developed to harvest it and convert it to a form that can be used. One of these is though mimicking the processes in natural photosynthesis. Artificial photosynthetic systems include dye sensitized solar cells for the conversion of sunlight to electricity, and photoelectrosynthetic cells which use sunlight to drive water oxidation and hydrogen production to convert sunlight to energy stored in fuel. Both of these approaches include the process of the conversion of light energy into chemical potential in the form of a charge-separated state via molecular compounds. Porphyrins are commonly used as sensitizers as they have well suited properties for these applications. A high potential porphyrin with four nitrile groups at the beta positions, a β-cyanoporphyrin (CyP), was investigated and found to be an excellent electron acceptor, as well as have the necessary properties to be used as a sensitizer for photoelectrosynthetic cells for water oxidation. A new synthetic method was developed which allowed for the CyP to be used in a number of studies in artificial photosynthetic systems. This dissertation reports the theories behind, and the results of four studies utilizing a CyP for the first time; as a sensitizer in a DSSC for an investigation of its use in light driven water oxidation photoelectrosynthetic cells, as an electron acceptor in a proton coupled electron transfer system, in a carotene-CyP dyad to study energy and electron transfer processes between these moieties, and in a molecular triad to study a unique electron transfer process from a C60 radical anion to the CyP. It has been found that CyPs can be used as powerful electron acceptors in molecular systems to provide a large driving force for electron transfer that can aid in the process of the conversion of light to electrochemical potential. The results from these studies have led to a better understanding of the properties of CyPs, and have provided new insight into several electron transfer reactions.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Synthesis and characterization of dyes and benzimidazole-phenols for the study of electron transfer

Description

Converting solar energy into electricity is a reasonable way to ameliorate the current untenable energy situation. One way to harness solar energy is to mimic the mechanisms already present in

Converting solar energy into electricity is a reasonable way to ameliorate the current untenable energy situation. One way to harness solar energy is to mimic the mechanisms already present in natural photosynthesis. A key component of many artificial photosynthetic systems is the linker connecting the dye to an electrode. Studying the associated electron transport process is important for improving linker efficiency. Similarly it is important to be able to control the electron transfer to the dye from a water oxidation catalyst, and to be able to improve the lifetime of the charge separated state. Natural photosynthesis provides a blueprint for this in the tyrosine-histidine pair in photosystem II. In this work, research on these topics is described.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Solvent electrostatic response: from simple solutes to proteins

Description

How water behaves at interfaces is relevant to many scientific and technological applications; however, many subtle phenomena are unknown in aqueous solutions. In this work, interfacial structural transition in hydration

How water behaves at interfaces is relevant to many scientific and technological applications; however, many subtle phenomena are unknown in aqueous solutions. In this work, interfacial structural transition in hydration shells of a polarizable solute at critical polarizabilities is discovered. The transition is manifested in maximum water response, the reorientation of the water dipoles at the interface, and an increase in the density of dangling OH bonds. This work also addresses the role of polarizability of the active site of proteins in biological catalytic reactions. For proteins, the hydration shell becomes very heterogeneous and involves a relatively large number of water molecules. The molecular dynamics simulations show that the polarizability, along with the atomic charge distribution, needs to be a part of the picture describing how enzymes work. Non Gaussian dynamics in time-resolved linear and nonlinear (correlation) 2D spectra are also analyzed.

Additionally, a theoretical formalism is presented to show that when preferential orientations of water dipoles exist at the interface, electrophoretic charges can be produced without free charge carriers, i.e., neutral solutes can move in a constant electric field due to the divergence of polarization at the interface. Furthermore, the concept of interface susceptibility is introduced. It involves the fluctuations of the surface charge density caused by thermal motion and its correlation over the characteristic correlation length with the fluctuations of the solvent charge density. Solvation free energy and interface dielectric constant are formulated accordingly. Unlike previous approaches, the solvation free energy scales quite well in a broad range of ion sizes, namely in the range of 2-14 A° . Interface dielectric constant is defined such that the boundary conditions in the Laplace equation describing a micro- or mesoscopic interface are satisfied. The effective dielectric constant of interfacial water is found to be significantly lower than its bulk value. Molecular dynamics simulation results show that the interface dielectric constant for a TIP3P water model changes from nine to four when the effective solute radius is increased from 5 A° to 18 A° . The small value of the interface dielectric constant of water has potentially dramatic consequences for hydration.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Design of protein-based hybrid catalysts for fuel production

Description

One of the greatest problems facing society today is the development of a

sustainable, carbon neutral energy source to curb the reliance on fossil fuel combustion as the primary source of

One of the greatest problems facing society today is the development of a

sustainable, carbon neutral energy source to curb the reliance on fossil fuel combustion as the primary source of energy. To overcome this challenge, research efforts have turned to biology for inspiration, as nature is adept at inter-converting low molecular weight precursors into complex molecules. A number of inorganic catalysts have been reported that mimic the active sites of energy-relevant enzymes such as hydrogenases and carbon monoxide dehydrogenase. However, these inorganic models fail to achieve the high activity of the enzymes, which function in aqueous systems, as they lack the critical secondary-shell interactions that enable the active site of enzymes to outperform their organometallic counterparts.

To address these challenges, my work utilizes bio-hybrid systems in which artificial proteins are used to modulate the properties of organometallic catalysts. This approach couples the diversity of organometallic function with the robust nature of protein biochemistry, aiming to utilize the protein scaffold to not only enhance rates of reaction, but also to control catalytic cycles and reaction outcomes. To this end, I have used chemical biology techniques to modify natural protein structures and augment the H2 producing ability of a cobalt-catalyst by a factor of five through simple mutagenesis. Concurrently I have designed and characterized a de novo peptide that incorporates various iron sulfur clusters at discrete distances from one another, facilitating electron transfer between the two. Finally, using computational methodologies I have engineered proteins to alter the specificity of a CO2 reduction reaction. The proteins systems developed herein allow for study of protein secondary-shell interactions during catalysis, and enable structure-function relationships to be built. The complete system will be interfaced with a solar fuel cell, accepting electrons from a photosensitized dye and storing energy in chemical bonds, such as H2 or methanol.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Mutations that affect the bidirectional electron transfer in photosystem I

Description

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)

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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Date Created
  • 2014

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Molecules for energy and charge transfer for biomimetic systems: synthesis, characterization and computational studies

Description

Sunlight, the most abundant source of energy available, is diffuse and intermittent; therefore it needs to be stored in chemicals bonds in order to be used any time. Photosynthesis converts

Sunlight, the most abundant source of energy available, is diffuse and intermittent; therefore it needs to be stored in chemicals bonds in order to be used any time. Photosynthesis converts sunlight into useful chemical energy that organisms can use for their functions. Artificial photosynthesis aims to use the essential chemistry of natural photosynthesis to harvest solar energy and convert it into fuels such as hydrogen gas. By splitting water, tandem photoelectrochemical solar cells (PESC) can produce hydrogen gas, which can be stored and used as fuel. Understanding the mechanisms of photosynthesis, such as photoinduced electron transfer, proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) and energy transfer (singlet-singlet and triplet-triplet) can provide a detailed knowledge of those processes which can later be applied to the design of artificial photosynthetic systems. This dissertation has three main research projects. The first part focuses on design, synthesis and characterization of suitable photosensitizers for tandem cells. Different factors that can influence the performance of the photosensitizers in PESC and the attachment and use of a biomimetic electron relay to a water oxidation catalyst are explored. The second part studies PCET, using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and computational chemistry to elucidate the structure and stability of tautomers that comprise biomimetic electron relays, focusing on the formation of intramolecular hydrogen bonds. The third part of this dissertation uses computational calculations to understand triplet-triplet energy transfer and the mechanism of quenching of the excited singlet state of phthalocyanines in antenna models by covalently attached carotenoids.

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Date Created
  • 2016