Energy conversion in natural and artificial photosynthesis

Iain McConnell, Gonghu Li, Gary W. Brudvig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

280 Citations (Scopus)


Modern civilization is dependent upon fossil fuels, a nonrenewable energy source originally provided by the storage of solar energy. Fossil-fuel dependence has severe consequences, including energy security issues and greenhouse gas emissions. The consequences of fossil-fuel dependence could be avoided by fuel-producing artificial systems that mimic natural photosynthesis, directly converting solar energy to fuel. This review describes the three key components of solar energy conversion in photosynthesis: light harvesting, charge separation, and catalysis. These processes are compared in natural and in artificial systems. Such a comparison can assist in understanding the general principles of photosynthesis and in developing working devices, including photoelectrochemical cells, for solar energy conversion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-447
Number of pages14
JournalChemistry and Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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