Complex Systems: Photosynthesis

R. Pokhrel, G. W. Brudvig

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter provides an overview of oxygenic photosynthesis, with primary focus on the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) of photosystem II (PSII). The introduction includes a general discussion of photosynthesis and a brief overview of the metals involved. This is followed by an in-depth description of the metal centers within PSII, in which the structural and electronic characterizations of the OEC are reviewed in detail. The role of chloride in PSII and the proton exit pathway are discussed. Several mechanisms proposed for the O. O bond formation in the OEC are presented, along with a few detailed mechanisms for the complete catalytic cycle obtained from quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics and density functional theory calculations. Model complexes that are functional mimics of the OEC are also briefly discussed. General discussion on plastocyanin, iron-sulfur centers, [FeFe] and [NiFe] hydrogenases, and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase is included. The chapter concludes with the implications of natural photosynthesis on the development of an artificial photosynthetic framework.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBioinorganic Fundamentals and Applications
Subtitle of host publicationMetals in Natural Living Systems and Metals in Toxicology and Medicine
PublisherElsevier Ltd
Number of pages38
ISBN (Print)9780080965291
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • Charge separation
  • Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR)
  • Electron transfer (ET)
  • Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy
  • Manganese (Mn)
  • Oxygen-evolving complex (OEC)
  • Photosynthesis
  • Photosystem II (PSII)
  • Water oxidation
  • X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)

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