Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Snapshot reveals details about photosynthesis

09.11.2012
Together with a large international research team, Johannes Messinger of Umeå University in Sweden has taken another step toward an understanding of photosynthesis and developing artificial photosynthesis.

With a combination of a x-ray free-electron laser and spectroscopy, the team has managed to see the electronic structure of a manganese complex, a chemical compound related to how photosynthesis splits water.


Caption: Ultra-short x-ray pulse striking molecules containing manganese. Illustration: Greg Stewart, National Accelerator Laboratory vid Stanford University

The experiments used the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), which is a free-electron x-ray laser facility at Stanford University in the US. The wavelength of the laser is roughly the same as the breadth of an atom, and each pulse of light lasts 50 femtoseconds (10-15). This is an extremely short interval of time: there are more femtoseconds in one second than there are seconds in a person’s life. Such extremely short wavelengths and short light pulses constitute ideal conditions for imaging chemical reactions with atomic resolution at room temperature while the chemical reactions are ongoing.

The research group has previously used LCLS to perform structural analyses of isolated photosynthesis complexes from plants’ photosystem II at room temperature. Now the group has combined the method with spectroscopy and is the first team to succeed in seeing at LCLS the electronic structure of a manganese complex similar to that found in photosystem II. Manganese is a transitional metal that, together with calcium and oxygen, forms the water-splitting catalyst in photosystem II.

A very simple example of a spectrometer is a prism, which separates sunlight into all the colors of the rainbow. The spectrometer used in this study functions in a similar manner, but with a group of 16 specialized crystals that diffract the x-rays emitted from the sample in resonse of being excited by an x-ray pulse onto a detector array.

To the delight of the scientists, the manganese compounds remained intact long enough for them to observe detailed information about the electronic structure before the compounds were destroyed by the very intense X-ray laser beam.

“Having both structural information and spectroscopic information means that we can much better understand how the structural changes of the whole complex and the chemical changes on the active surface of the catalysts work together to enable the enzymes to perform complex chemical reactions at room temperature,” says Johannes Messinger, professor at the Department of Chemistry at Umeå University.

The chemical reaction the research group aims to understand is the splitting of water in photosystem II, as this understanding is also key for developing artificial photosynthesis– that is, for building devices for producing hydrogen from sunlight and water. To be able to exploit sunlight for producing fuels that can be stored and the used when needed would help solve the world’s ever-more acute energy problems.

The new research findings are being published in the highly regarded journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS.

Two major research projects at Umeå University are focusing on the development of artificial photosynthesis by imitating plants’ very successful way of exploiting solar energy. Both projects (“solar fuels” and “artificial leaf”) are directed by Johannes Messinger, professor at the Department of Chemistry at Umeå University.

Original publication:
Alonso-Mori Roberto, et. al: Energy-dispersive X-ray emission spectroscopy using an X-ray free-electron laser in a shot-by-shot mode. PNAS, November 5 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1211384109
For more information, please contact:
Johannes Messinger
Telephone: phone: +46 (0)90-786 59 33
E-mail: johannes.messinger@chem.umu.se

Ingrid Söderbergh | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Programming cells with computer-like logic
27.07.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics
27.07.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Physiker designen ultrascharfe Pulse

Quantenphysiker um Oriol Romero-Isart haben einen einfachen Aufbau entworfen, mit dem theoretisch beliebig stark fokussierte elektromagnetische Felder erzeugt werden können. Anwendung finden könnte das neue Verfahren zum Beispiel in der Mikroskopie oder für besonders empfindliche Sensoren.

Mikrowellen, Wärmestrahlung, Licht und Röntgenstrahlung sind Beispiele für elektromagnetische Wellen. Für viele Anwendungen ist es notwendig, diese Strahlung...

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Navigationssystem der Hirnzellen entschlüsselt

Das menschliche Gehirn besteht aus etwa hundert Milliarden Nervenzellen. Informationen zwischen ihnen werden über ein komplexes Netzwerk aus Nervenfasern übermittelt. Verdrahtet werden die meisten dieser Verbindungen vor der Geburt nach einem genetischen Bauplan, also ohne dass äußere Einflüsse eine Rolle spielen. Mehr darüber, wie das Navigationssystem funktioniert, das die Axone beim Wachstum leitet, haben jetzt Forscher des Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie (KIT) herausgefunden. Das berichten sie im Fachmagazin eLife.

Die Gesamtlänge des Nervenfasernetzes im Gehirn beträgt etwa 500.000 Kilometer, mehr als die Entfernung zwischen Erde und Mond. Damit es beim Verdrahten der...

Im Focus: Kohlenstoff-Nanoröhrchen verwandeln Strom in leuchtende Quasiteilchen

Starke Licht-Materie-Kopplung in diesen halbleitenden Röhrchen könnte zu elektrisch gepumpten Lasern führen

Auch durch Anregung mit Strom ist die Erzeugung von leuchtenden Quasiteilchen aus Licht und Materie in halbleitenden Kohlenstoff-Nanoröhrchen möglich....

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

10. Uelzener Forum: Demografischer Wandel und Digitalisierung

26.07.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Clash of Realities 2017: Anmeldung jetzt möglich. Internationale Konferenz an der TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Veranstaltungen

2. Spitzentreffen »Industrie 4.0 live«

25.07.2017 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Biochemiker entschlüsseln Zusammenspiel von Enzym-Domänen während der Katalyse

27.07.2017 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Heilpflanze Arnika ist in Norddeutschland genetisch arm dran

27.07.2017 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Drei Generationen an Sternen unter einem Dach

27.07.2017 | Physik Astronomie