Matching Items (5)

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Hybrid Materials and Interfaces for Artificial Photosynthetic Assemblies

Description

Chemical modification of (semi)conducting surfaces with soft-material coatings containing electrocatalysts provides a strategy for developing integrated constructs that capture, convert, and store solar energy as fuels. However, a lack of

Chemical modification of (semi)conducting surfaces with soft-material coatings containing electrocatalysts provides a strategy for developing integrated constructs that capture, convert, and store solar energy as fuels. However, a lack of effective strategies for interfacing electrocatalysts with solid-state materials, and an incomplete understanding of performance limiting factors, inhibit further development. In this work, chemical modification of a nanostructured transparent conductive oxide, and the III-V semiconductor, gallium phosphide, is achieved by applying a thin-film polymer coating containing appropriate functional groups to direct, template, and assemble molecular cobalt catalysts for activating fuel-forming reactions. The heterogeneous-homogeneous conducting assemblies enable comparisons of the structural and electrochemical properties of these materials with their homogeneous electrocatalytic counterparts. For these hybrid constructs, rational design of the local soft-material environment yields a nearly one-volt span in the redox chemistry of the cobalt metal centers. Further, assessment of the interplay between light absorption, charge transfer, and catalytic activity in studies involving molecular-catalyst-modified semiconductors affords models to describe the rates of photoelectrosynthetic fuel production as a function of the steady-state concentration of catalysts present in their activated form. These models provide a conceptual framework for extracting kinetic and thermodynamic benchmarking parameters. Finally, investigation of molecular ‘proton wires’ inspired by the Tyrosine Z-Histidine 190 redox pair in Photosystem II, provides insight into fundamental principles governing proton-coupled electron transfer, a process essential to all fuel-forming reactions relevant to solar fuel generation.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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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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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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Methods and applications of nanoelectrochemical techniques

Description

Hydrogenases catalyze the interconversion of protons, electrons, and hydrogen according to the reaction: 2H+ + 2e- <-> H2 while using only earth abundant metals, namely nickel and iron for catalysis.

Hydrogenases catalyze the interconversion of protons, electrons, and hydrogen according to the reaction: 2H+ + 2e- <-> H2 while using only earth abundant metals, namely nickel and iron for catalysis. The enzymatic turnover of Clostridium acetobutylicum [FeFe]-hydrogenase has been investigated through the use of electrochemical and scanning probe techniques. Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) imaging revealed sub-monolayer surface coverage. Cyclic voltammetry yielded a catalytic, cathodic hydrogen production signal similar to that observed for a platinum electrode. From the direct observation of single enzymes and the macroscopic electrochemical measurements obtained from the same electrode, the apparent turnover frequency (TOF) per single enzyme molecule as a function of potential was determined. The TOF at 0.7 V vs. Ag/AgCl for the four SAMs yielded a decay constant for electronic coupling (β) through the SAM of ~ 0.82 Å -1, in excellent agreement with published values for similar SAMs. One mechanism used by plants to protect against damage is called nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ). Triggered by low pH in the thylakoid lumen, NPQ leads to conversion of excess excitation energy in the antenna system to heat before it can initiate production of harmful chemical species by photosynthetic reaction centers. Here a synthetic hexad molecule that functionally mimics the role of the antenna in NPQ is described. When the hexad is dissolved in an organic solvent, five zinc porphyrin antenna moieties absorb light, exchange excitation energy, and ultimately decay by normal photophysical processes. However, when acid is added, a pH-sensitive dye moiety is converted to a form that rapidly quenches the first excited singlet states of all five porphyrins, converting the excitation energy to heat and rendering the porphyrins kinetically incompetent to perform useful photochemistry. Charge transport was also studied in single-molecule junctions formed with a 1,7-pyrrolidine-substituted 3,4,9,10-Perylenetetracarboxylic diimide (PTCDI) molecule. A reduction in the highest occupied (HOMO) and lowest unoccupied (LUMO) molecular orbitals energy gap due to the electronic properties of the substituents is seen when compared to an unsubstituted-PTCDI. The small HOMO-LUMO energy gap allows for switching between electron- and hole-dominated charge transport with a gate voltage, thus demonstrating a single-molecule ambipolar field effect transistor.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Structural and photoelectrochemical characterization of gallium phosphide semiconductors modified with molecular cobalt catalysts

Description

The molecular modification of semiconductors has applications in energy

conversion and storage, including artificial photosynthesis. In nature, the active sites of

enzymes are typically earth-abundant metal centers and the protein provides a

The molecular modification of semiconductors has applications in energy

conversion and storage, including artificial photosynthesis. In nature, the active sites of

enzymes are typically earth-abundant metal centers and the protein provides a unique

three-dimensional environment for effecting catalytic transformations. Inspired by this

biological architecture, a synthetic methodology using surface-grafted polymers with

discrete chemical recognition sites for assembling human-engineered catalysts in three-dimensional

environments is presented. The use of polymeric coatings to interface cobalt-containing

catalysts with semiconductors for solar fuel production is introduced in

Chapter 1. The following three chapters demonstrate the versatility of this modular

approach to interface cobalt-containing catalysts with semiconductors for solar fuel

production. The catalyst-containing coatings are characterized through a suite of

spectroscopic techniques, including ellipsometry, grazing angle attenuated total reflection

Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (GATR-FTIR) and x-ray photoelectron (XP)

spectroscopy. It is demonstrated that the polymeric interface can be varied to control the

surface chemistry and photoelectrochemical response of gallium phosphide (GaP) (100)

electrodes by using thin-film coatings comprising surface-immobilized pyridyl or

imidazole ligands to coordinate cobaloximes, known catalysts for hydrogen evolution.

The polymer grafting chemistry and subsequent cobaloxime attachment is applicable to

both the (111)A and (111)B crystal face of the gallium phosphide (GaP) semiconductor,

providing insights into the surface connectivity of the hard/soft matter interface and

demonstrating the applicability of the UV-induced immobilization of vinyl monomers to

a range of GaP crystal indices. Finally, thin-film polypyridine surface coatings provide a

molecular interface to assemble cobalt porphyrin catalysts for hydrogen evolution onto

GaP. In all constructs, photoelectrochemical measurements confirm the hybrid

photocathode uses solar energy to power reductive fuel-forming transformations in

aqueous solutions without the use of organic acids, sacrificial chemical reductants, or

electrochemical forward biasing.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018