Wiring photosynthetic machineries to electrodes for semi-artificial photosynthesis

Dr Jenny Zhang from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge is visiting Leeds to talk about her research.


Photoelectrochemistry is a relatively new tool for studying photosynthesis and for advancing the field of semi-artificial photosynthesis, which aims to re-wire bioenergetic pathways for solar energy and chemical conversion. Studies into the photoelectrochemistry of purified photosynthetic proteins have recently benefited from considerable improvements in the understanding of the bio-material interface and in electrode design. Here, I will give an overview of these advancements with a focus on lessons derived from the water oxidation photo-enzyme, photosystem II. I will show how these lessons can be applied to enhance the wiring of more complex photosynthetic components, such as thylakoids and microorganisms, to electrodes. I will also show how these lessons feed into biophotovoltaics, which is a technology that aims to generate solar electricity from photosynthetic microorganisms.

References of interest:

1.Kornienko, N., Zhang, J. Z., Sakimoto, K. K., Yang, P., Reisner, E. Nature Nanotech., 2018, 13, 890−899.

2.Zhang, J. Z., Paul, N., Sokol, K. P., Romero, E., Grondelle, R-V., Reisner, E. Nature Chem. Bio. 2016, 12, 1046–1052.

3.Zhang, J. Z., Bombelli, P., Sokol, K., Fantuzzi, A., Rutherford, A. W., Howe, C., Reisner, E., 2017, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140, 6-9.

Host: Dr Peter Adams