Berkeley Lab Berkeley Lab A-Z Index Phone Book Jobs Search DOE

Spectroscopic elucidation of energy transfer in hybrid inorganic–biological organisms

Spectroscopic elucidation of energy transfer in hybrid inorganic–biological organismsTwo-pathway mechanism: (1) a high quantum efficiency charge-transfer pathway to H2ase generating H2 and (2) a non-H2ase mediated direct energy-transducing enzymatic pathway.

Scientific Achievement
Two pathways facilitate electron and light energy transfer from semiconductor to bacterium as concluded using time-resolved spectroscopy and biochemical analysis.

Significance and Impact
This work represents a promising platform to utilize conventional spectroscopic methodology to extract insights from more complex biotic–abiotic hybrid systems.

Research Details

  • Transient absorption (TA) spectroscopy revealed that photoexcited electron transfer rates increase with increasing hydrogenase (H2ase) enzyme activity
  • The direct energy-transducing enzymatic pathway is responsible for acetic acid production at short time scales (< 3 h)
  • H2ase generated H2 dominates as a molecular intermediate at longer time scales

N. Kornienko, K. K. Sakimoto, D. M. Herlihy, S. C. Nguyen, A. P. Alivisatos, C. B. Harris, A. M. Schwartzberg, P. Yang, PNAS, 113(42) 11750 (2016)