Matching Items (15)

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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 has a key role in properties such as solubility and

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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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, yet sometimes the usefulness of these calculations can be limited

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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2013-10-28

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Characterization of a Polyclonal Antibody Specific for Synechococcus WH8102 Plastoquinol Terminal Oxidase.

Description

Photosynthesis is a critical process that fixes the carbon utilized in cellular respiration. In higher plants, the immutans gene codes for a protein that is both involved in carotenoid biosynthesis and plastoquinol oxidation (Carol et al 1999, Josse et al

Photosynthesis is a critical process that fixes the carbon utilized in cellular respiration. In higher plants, the immutans gene codes for a protein that is both involved in carotenoid biosynthesis and plastoquinol oxidation (Carol et al 1999, Josse et al 2003). This plastoquinol terminal oxidase (PTOX) is of great interest in understanding electron flow in the plastoquinol pool. In order to characterize this PTOX, polyclonal antibodies were developed. Expression of Synechococcus WH8102 PTOX in E. coli provided a useful means to harvest the protein required for antibody production. Once developed, the antibody was tested for limit of concentration, effectiveness in whole cell lysate, and overall specificity. The antibody raised against PTOX was able to detect as low as 10 pg of PTOX in SDS-PAGE, and could detect PTOX extracted from lysed Synechococcus WH8102. The production of this antibody could determine the localization of the PTOX in Synechococcus.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Application and study of water oxidation catalysts and molecular dyes for solar-fuel production

Description

Developing a system capable of using solar energy to drive the conversion of an abundant and available precursor to fuel would profoundly impact humanity's energy use and thereby the condition of the global ecosystem. Such is the goal of artificial

Developing a system capable of using solar energy to drive the conversion of an abundant and available precursor to fuel would profoundly impact humanity's energy use and thereby the condition of the global ecosystem. Such is the goal of artificial photosynthesis: to convert water to hydrogen using solar radiation as the sole energy input and ideally do so with the use of low cost, abundant materials. Constructing photoelectrochemical cells incorporating photoanodes structurally reminiscent of those used in dye sensitized photovoltaic solar cells presents one approach to establishing an artificial photosynthetic system. The work presented herein describes the production, integration, and study of water oxidation catalysts, molecular dyes, and metal oxide based photoelectrodes carried out in the pursuit of developing solar water splitting systems.

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2013

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

Description

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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Date Created
2011

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Limited proteolysis of the AAA+ protein Rubisco activase from Nicotiana tabacum

Description

Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) is widely accepted as the world's most abundant enzyme and represents the primary entry point for inorganic carbon into the biosphere. Rubisco's slow carboxylation rate of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) and its susceptibility to inhibition has led some to

Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) is widely accepted as the world's most abundant enzyme and represents the primary entry point for inorganic carbon into the biosphere. Rubisco's slow carboxylation rate of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) and its susceptibility to inhibition has led some to term it the "bottle neck" of photosynthesis. In order to ensure that Rubisco remains uninhibited, plants require the catalytic chaperone Rubisco activase. Activase is a member of the AAA+ superfamily, ATPases associated with various cellular activities, and uses ATP hydrolysis as the driving force behind a conformational movement that returns activity to inhibited Rubisco active sites. A high resolution activase structure will be an essential tool for examining Rubisco/activase interactions as well as understanding the activase self-association phenomenon. Rubisco activase has long eluded crystallization, likely due to its infamous self-association (polydispersity). Therefore, a limited proteolysis approach was taken to identify soluble activase subdomains as potential crystallization targets. This process involves using proteolytic enzymes to cleave a protein into a few pieces and has previously proven successful in identifying crystallizable protein fragments. Limited proteolysis, utilizing two different proteolytic enzymes (alpha-chymotrypsin and trypsin), identified two tobacco activase products. The fragments that were identified appear to represent most of what is considered to be the AAA+ C-terminal all alpha-domain and some of the AAA+ N-terminal alpha beta alpha-domain. Identified fragments were cloned using the pET151/dTOPO. The project then moved towards cloning and recombinant protein expression in E. coli. NtAbeta(248-383) and NtAbeta(253-354) were successfully cloned, expressed, purified, and characterized through various biophysical techniques. A thermofluor assay of NtAbeta(248-383) revealed a melting temperature of about 30°C, indicating lower thermal stability compared with full-length activase at 43°C. Size exclusion chromatography suggested that NtAbeta(248-383) is monomeric. Circular dichroism was used to identify the secondary structure; a plurality of alpha-helices. NtAbeta(248-383) and NtAbeta(253-354) were subjected to crystallization trials.

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Date Created
2012

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Instrumentation for molecular electronics device research

Description

This dissertation describes work on three projects concerning the design and implementation of instrumentation used to study potential organic electronic devices. The first section describes the conducting atomic force microscope (CAFM) in the study of the mechanical and electronic interactions

This dissertation describes work on three projects concerning the design and implementation of instrumentation used to study potential organic electronic devices. The first section describes the conducting atomic force microscope (CAFM) in the study of the mechanical and electronic interactions between DNA bases and nucleosides. Previous STM data suggested that an STM tip could recognize single base pairs through an electronic interaction after a functionalized tip made contact with a self assembled monolayer then was retracted. The conducting AFM was employed in order to understand the mechanical interactions of such a system and how they were affecting electrical responses. The results from the conducting AFM showed that the scanning probe system was measuring multiple base-pair interactions, and thus did not have single base resolution. Further, results showed that the conductance between a single base-nucleoside pair is below the detection limit of a potential commercial sequencing device. The second section describes the modifications of a scanning probe microscope in order to study the conductance of single organic molecules under illumination. Modifications to the scanning probe microscope are described as are the control and data analysis software for an experiment testing the single molecule conductance of an organic molecule under illumination. This instrument was then tested using a novel charge-separation molecule, which is being considered for its potential photovoltaic properties. The experiments showed that the instrumentation is capable of detecting differences in conductance upon laser illumination of the molecule on a transparent conductive surface. The third section describes measurements using the illuminated CAFM, as well as the design and construction of an illuminated mercury drop electrode apparatus. Both instruments were tested by attempting to observe photovoltaic behavior in a novel self-organized film of the charge-separation molecules mentioned in the previous paragraph. Results and calculations show that the conducting AFM is not a useful tool in the examination of these organic photovoltaics, while the mercury drop apparatus measured photovoltaic effects in the film. Although photovoltaic effects were measurable with the mercury drop electrode, it was found that the film exhibited very low photon-to-electron conversion efficiency (IPCE).

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Date Created
2010

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Towards biohybrid artificial photosynthesis

Description

A vast amount of energy emanates from the sun, and at the distance of Earth, approximately 172,500 TW reaches the atmosphere. Of that, 80,600 TW reaches the surface with 15,600 TW falling on land. Photosynthesis converts 156 TW in the

A vast amount of energy emanates from the sun, and at the distance of Earth, approximately 172,500 TW reaches the atmosphere. Of that, 80,600 TW reaches the surface with 15,600 TW falling on land. Photosynthesis converts 156 TW in the form of biomass, which represents all food/fuel for the biosphere with about 20 TW of the total product used by humans. Additionally, our society uses approximately 20 more TW of energy from ancient photosynthetic products i.e. fossil fuels. In order to mitigate climate problems, the carbon dioxide must be removed from the human energy usage by replacement or recycling as an energy carrier. Proposals have been made to process biomass into biofuels; this work demonstrates that current efficiencies of natural photosynthesis are inadequate for this purpose, the effects of fossil fuel replacement with biofuels is ecologically irresponsible, and new technologies are required to operate at sufficient efficiencies to utilize artificial solar-to-fuels systems. Herein a hybrid bioderived self-assembling hydrogen-evolving nanoparticle consisting of photosystem I (PSI) and platinum nanoclusters is demonstrated to operate with an overall efficiency of 6%, which exceeds that of land plants by more than an order of magnitude. The system was limited by the rate of electron donation to photooxidized PSI. Further work investigated the interactions of natural donor acceptor pairs of cytochrome c6 and PSI for the thermophilic cyanobacteria Thermosynechococcus elogantus BP1 and the red alga Galderia sulphuraria. The cyanobacterial system is typified by collisional control while the algal system demonstrates a population of prebound PSI-cytochrome c6 complexes with faster electron transfer rates. Combining the stability of cyanobacterial PSI and kinetics of the algal PSI:cytochrome would result in more efficient solar-to-fuel conversion. A second priority is the replacement of platinum with chemically abundant catalysts. In this work, protein scaffolds are employed using host-guest strategies to increase the stability of proton reduction catalysts and enhance the turnover number without the oxygen sensitivity of hydrogenases. Finally, design of unnatural electron transfer proteins are explored and may introduce a bioorthogonal method of introducing alternative electron transfer pathways in vitro or in vivo in the case of engineered photosynthetic organisms.

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Date Created
2014

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Biomimetic models of [FeFe]-hydrogenase: utilization of peptides and redox non-innocent ligands in synthetic catalysts

Description

[FeFe]-hydrogenases are enzymes for the reduction of protons to hydrogen. They rely on only the earth abundant first-row transition metal iron at their active site (H cluster). In recent years, a multitude of diiron mimics of hydrogenases have been synthesized,

[FeFe]-hydrogenases are enzymes for the reduction of protons to hydrogen. They rely on only the earth abundant first-row transition metal iron at their active site (H cluster). In recent years, a multitude of diiron mimics of hydrogenases have been synthesized, but none of them catalyzes hydrogen production with the same exquisite combination of high turnover frequency and low activation energy as the enzymes. Generally, model complexes fail to include one or both of two features essential to the natural enzyme: an intricate array of outer coordination sphere contacts that constrain the coordination geometry to attain a catalytically optimal conformation, and the redox non-innocence of accessory [FeS] clusters found at or near the hydrogen-activating site. The work presented herein describes the synthesis and electrocatalytic characterization of iron-dithiolate models designed to incorporate these features. First, synthetic strategies are developed for constructing peptides with artificial metal-binding motifs, such as 1,3-dithiolate and phosphines, which are utilized to append diiron-polycarbonyl clusters onto a peptide. The phosphine-functionalized peptides are shown to be better electrocatalysts for proton reduction in water/acetonitrile mixtures than in neat acetonitrile. Second, we report the impact of redox non-innocent ligands on the electrocatalytic properties of two types of [FeFe]-hydrogenase models: dinuclear and mononuclear iron complexes. The bidentate, redox non-innocent α-diimine ligands (N-N), 2,2'-bipyridine and 2,2' bipyrimidine, are used to create complexes with the general formula (μ-SRS)Fe2(CO)4(N-N), new members of the well known family of asymmetric diiron carbonyls. While the 2,2'-bipyridine derivatives can act as electrocatalysts for proton reduction, surprisingly, the 2,2'-bipyrimidine analogues are found to be inactive towards catalysis. Electrochemical investigation of two related Fe(II) complexes, (bdt)Fe(CO)P2 for bdt = benzene-1,2-dithiolate and P2 = 1,1'-diphenylphosphinoferrocene or methyl-2-{bis(diphenylphosphinomethylamino}acetate, related to the distal iron in [FeFe]-hydrogenase show that these complexes catalyze the reduction of protons under mild conditions. However, their reactivities toward the external ligand CO are distinguished by gross geometrical differences.

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Date Created
2013