Research Interests: Photosystem II; artificial photosynthesis; water-oxidation catalysts for solar fuel production; and EPR spectroscopy.
Our research aims to define how nature has solved the difficult problem of efficient light-driven, four-electron oxidation of water to O2 and to use this understanding to develop new artificial processes for solar energy conversion. We use spectroscopic, biophysical and molecular biological methods to probe the structure and function of the redox centers, the kinetics and yields of electron-transfer reactions, and the chemistry of water oxidation in photosystem II. The studies on photosystem II provide insight into the design of artificial systems that split water. Toward this goal, we are investigating inorganic model complexes of the tetramanganese active site in photosystem II in collaboration with Professor Crabtree. The synergism between the inorganic and biological chemistry is an important aspect of this research and has yielded the first homogeneous oxomanganese water-oxidation catalyst. We are also working on a collaborative project to develop artificial processes that use solar energy for fuel production together with Professors Batista, Crabtree and Schmuttenmaer. Our aim is to use a bioinspired approach for solar fuel production based on our water-oxidation catalysts attached to nanostructured TiO2.