Grant to probe photosynthesis at electronic level – University of Copenhagen

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03 November 2010

Grant to probe photosynthesis at electronic level

When sunlight strikes a molecule in a leaf it might set of a transport of electrons from one molecule to the next. That miniscule movement lies at the basis of photosynthesis. But understanding the basics of the phenomenon would also be very useful to anyone trying to synthesise molecular sized electronic components.

Previously the transfer of electrons has been examined only in solution state. But in order to seriously understand electron transfer one needs to examine reactions and molecular characteristics "in the wild". In gasphase.

Now a group from the Department of chemistry lead by Professor Mogens Brøndsted Nielsen has received a grant of 4.7 million DKK from The Danish Council for Independent Research | Natural Sciences.

With Kristine Kilså and Klaus Bechgaard Professor Nielsen will synthesise compounds suited as models for this particular type of electron transport measurements. At the Department of Chemistry the group will also measure the optical and electrochemical properties of the molecules in solution, and the ability of certain molecules to undergo light-induced ring-opening.

The brother of Professor Nielsen, Steen Brøndsted Nielsen, who is a physicist at the university of Aarhus will take care of the gasphase measurements. By subtracting one set of results from the other, the group hopes to be the first ever, to uncover the intrinsic properties of these molecules.