Matching Items (14)

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Controlling Surface Defects and Photophysics in TiO2 Nanoparticles

Description

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is widely used for photocatalysis and solar cell applications, and the electronic structure of bulk TiO2 is well understood. However, the surface structure of nanoparticulate TiO2, which

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is widely used for photocatalysis and solar cell applications, and the electronic structure of bulk TiO2 is well understood. However, the surface structure of nanoparticulate TiO2, which has a key role in properties such as solubility and catalytic activity, still remains controversial. Detailed understanding of surface defect structures may help explain reactivity and overall materials performance in a wide range of applications. In this work we address the solubility problem and surface defects control on TiO2 nanoparticles. We report the synthesis and characterization of ∼4 nm TiO2 anatase spherical nanoparticles that are soluble and stable in a wide range of organic solvents and water. By controlling the temperature during the synthesis, we are able to tailor the density of defect states on the surface of the TiO2 nanoparticles without affecting parameters such as size, shape, core crystallinity, and solubility. The morphology of both kinds of nanoparticles was determined by TEM. EPR experiments were used to characterize the surface defects, and transient absorption measurements demonstrate the influence of the TiO2 defect states on photoinduced electron transfer dynamics.

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Date Created
  • 2014-11-13

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Simple and accurate correlation of experimental redox potentials and DFT-calculated HOMO/LUMO energies of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Description

The ability to accurately predict the oxidation and reduction potentials of molecules is very useful in various fields and applications. Quantum mechanical calculations can be used to access this information,

The ability to accurately predict the oxidation and reduction potentials of molecules is very useful in various fields and applications. Quantum mechanical calculations can be used to access this information, yet sometimes the usefulness of these calculations can be limited because of the computational requirements for large systems. Methodologies that yield strong linear correlations between calculations and experimental data have been reported, however the balance between accuracy and computational cost is always a major issue. In this work, linear correlations (with an R-2 value of up to 0.9990) between DFT-calculated HOMO/LUMO energies and 70 redox potentials from a series of 51 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (obtained from the literature) are presented. The results are compared to previously reported linear correlations that were obtained with a more expensive computational methodology based on a Born-Haber thermodynamic cycle. It is shown in this article that similar or better correlations can be obtained with a simple and cheaper calculation.

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Date Created
  • 2013-10-28

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Design and synthesis of molecular models for photosynthetic photoprotection

Description

Most of the sunlight powering natural photosynthesis is absorbed by antenna arrays that transfer, and regulate the delivery of excitation energy to reaction centers in the chloroplast where photosynthesis takes

Most of the sunlight powering natural photosynthesis is absorbed by antenna arrays that transfer, and regulate the delivery of excitation energy to reaction centers in the chloroplast where photosynthesis takes place. Under intense sunlight the plants and certain organisms cannot fully utilize all of the sunlight received by antennas and excess redox species are formed which could potentially harm them. To prevent this, excess energy is dissipated by antennas before it reaches to the reaction centers to initiate electron transfer needed in the next steps of photosynthesis. This phenomenon is called non-photochemical quenching (NPQ). The mechanism of NPQ is not fully understood, but the process is believed to be initiated by a drop in the pH in thylakoid lumen in cells. This causes changes in otherwise nonresponsive energy acceptors which accept the excess energy, preventing oversensitization of the reaction center. To mimic this phenomenon and get insight into the mechanism of NPQ, a novel pH sensitive dye 3'6'-indolinorhodamine was designed and synthesized which in a neutral solution stays in a closed (colorless) form and does not absorb light while at low pH it opens (colored) and absorbs light. The absorption of the dye overlaps porphyrin emission, thus making energy transfer from the porphyrin to the dye thermodynamically possible. Several self-regulating molecular model systems were designed and synthesized consisting of this dye and zinc porphyrins organized on a hexaphenylbenzene framework to functionally mimic the role of the antenna in NPQ. When a dye-zinc porphyrin dyad is dissolved in an organic solvent, the zinc porphyrin antenna absorbs and emits light by normal photophysical processes. Time resolved fluorescence experiments using the single-photon-timing method with excitation at 425 nm and emission at 600 nm yielded a lifetime of 2.09 ns for the porphyrin first excited singlet state. When acetic acid is added to the solution of the dyad, the pH sensitive dye opens and quenches the zinc porphyrin emission decreasing the lifetime of the porphyrin first excited singlet state to 23 ps, and converting the excitation energy to heat. Under similar experimental conditions in a neutral solution, a model hexad containing the dye and five zinc porphyrins organized on a hexaphenylbenzene core decays exponentially with a time constant of 2.1 ns, which is essentially the same lifetime as observed for related monomeric zinc porphyrins. When a solution of the hexad is acidified, the dye opens and quenches all porphyrin first excited singlet states to <40 ps. This converts the excitation energy to heat and renders the porphyrins kinetically incompetent to readily donate electrons by photoinduced electron transfer, thereby mimicking the role of the antenna in photosynthetic photoprotection.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Synthesis and characterization of dyes with solar energy applications

Description

The sun provides Earth with a virtually limitless source of energy capable of sustaining all of humanity's needs. Photosynthetic organisms have exploited this energy for eons. However, efficiently converting solar

The sun provides Earth with a virtually limitless source of energy capable of sustaining all of humanity's needs. Photosynthetic organisms have exploited this energy for eons. However, efficiently converting solar radiation into a readily available and easily transportable form is complex. New materials with optimized physical, electrochemical, and photophysical properties are at the forefront of organic solar energy conversion research. In the work presented herein, porphyrin and organometallic dyes with widely-varied properties were studied for solar energy applications. In one project, porphyrins and porphyrin-fullerene dyads with aniline-like features were polymerized via electrochemical methods into semiconductive thin films. These were shown to have high visible light absorption and stable physical and electrochemical properties. However, experimentation using porphyrin polymer films as both the light absorber and semiconductor in a photoelectrochemical cell showed relatively low efficiency of converting absorbed solar energy into electricity. In separate work, tetra-aryl porphyrin derivatives were examined in conjunction with wide-bandgap semiconductive oxides TiO2 and SnO2. Carboxylic acid-, phosphonic acid-, and silatrane-functionalized porphyrins were obtained or synthesized for attachment to the metal oxide species. Electrochemical, photophysical, photoelectrochemical, and surface stability studies of the porphyrins were performed for comparative purposes. The order of surface linkage stability on TiO2 in alkaline conditions, from most stable to least, was determined to be siloxane > phosphonate > carboxylate. Finally, porphyrin dimers fused via their meso and beta positions were synthesized using a chemical oxidative synthesis with a copper(II) oxidant. The molecules exhibit strong absorption in the visible and near-infrared spectral regions as well as interesting electrochemical properties suggesting possible applications in light harvesting and redox catalysis.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Modeling the TyrZ-His 190 pair of photosystem II for the study of proton coupled electron transfer

Description

The work described in the thesis involves the synthesis of a molecular triad which is designed to undergo proton coupled electron transfer (PCET) upon irradiation with light. Photoinduced PCET is

The work described in the thesis involves the synthesis of a molecular triad which is designed to undergo proton coupled electron transfer (PCET) upon irradiation with light. Photoinduced PCET is an important process that many organisms use and the elucidation of its mechanism will allow further understanding of this process and its potential applications. The target compound designed for PCET studies consists of a porphyrin chromophore (also a primary electron donor), covalently linked to a phenol-imidazole (secondary electron donor), and a C60 (primary electron acceptor). The phenol-imidazole moiety of this system is modeled after the TyrZ His-190 residues in the reaction center of Photosystem II (PS II). These residues participate in an intermolecular H-bond between the phenol side chain of TyrZ and the imidazole side chain of His-190. The phenol side chain of TyrZ is the electron transfer mediator between the oxygen evolving complex (OEC) and P680 (primary electron donor) in PSII. During electron transfer from TyrZ to P680*+, the phenolic proton of TyrZ becomes highly acidic (pKa~-2) and the hydrogen is preferentially transferred to the relatively basic imidazole of His-190 through a pre-existing hydrogen bond. This PCET process avoids a charged intermediate, on TyrZ, and results in a neutral phenolic radical (TyrZ*). The current research consists of building a molecular triad, which can mimic the photoinduced PCET process of PSII. The following, documents the synthetic progress in the synthesis of a molecular triad designed to investigate the mechanism of PCET as well as gain further insight on how this process can be applied in artificial photosynthetic devices.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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

Description

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

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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Date Created
  • 2013

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

Description

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

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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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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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