Gorotsuki Tenshi (aekiy) wrote,
Gorotsuki Tenshi
aekiy

Learning How Nature Splits Water

High-resolution structure of photosynthetic catalyst holds promise for clean energy

From the article:
<tr><td class="byline" valign="middle" height="20">Contact: Dan Krotz, (510) 486-4019, dakrotz@lbl.gov</td> </tr><tr><td title="spacer row" height="15"></td></tr><tr><td class="textBody" valign="top">

BERKELEY,CA — About 3.2 billion years ago, primitive bacteria developed a way toharness sunlight to split water molecules into protons, electrons andoxygen, the cornerstone of photosynthesis that led to atmosphericoxygen and more complex forms of life — in other words, the world andlife as we know it.

Today, scientists have taken a majorstep toward understanding this process by deriving the precisestructure of a catalyst composed of four manganese atoms and onecalcium atom that drives this water-splitting reaction. Their work,detailed in the Nov. 3, 2006 issue of the journal Science,could help researchers synthesize molecules that mimic this catalyst,which is a central focus in the push to develop clean energytechnologies that rely on sunlight to split water and form hydrogen tofeed fuel cells or other non-polluting power sources.

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