Electron transfer in biological molecules provides both insight and inspiration for developing chemical systems having similar functionality. Photosynthesis is an example of an integrated system in which light harvesting, photoinduced charge separation, and catalysis combine to carry out two thermodynamically demanding processes, the oxidation of water and the reduction of carbon dioxide. The development of artificial photosynthetic systems for solar energy conversion requires a fundamental understanding of electron-transfer reactions between organic molecules. Since these reactions most often involve single-electron transfers, the spin dynamics of photogenerated radical ion pairs provide important information on how the rates and efficiencies of these reactions depend on molecular structure. Given this knowledge, the design and synthesis of large integrated structures to carry out artificial photosynthesis is moving forward. An important approach to achieving this goal is the development of small, functional building blocks, having a minimum number of covalent bonds, which also have the appropriate molecular recognition sites to facilitate self-assembly into a complete, functional artificial photosynthetic system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry