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Chemistry for Biologists: Photosynthesis

PHOTOSYNTHESIS CHEMICAL R - Liberty Public Market

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De montfort r chemical photosynthesis university

from a molecule in solution to interact with molecules that have been chemically attracted to the surface of the assembly; the second step involves the product of that step reacting with molecules inside the tunnel altogether. "So we have a self-assembling, three-molecule chain, where the viologen is inside, porphyrin is on the outside, and EDTA is ion-paired with the porphyrin out there," Mallouk explained. The assembly worked, in that it propelled the electron into the tunnel in 30 picoseconds, only 10 times slower than with natural photosynthesis. The efficiency of the electron-hole separation was very poor, however, said Mallouk, illustrating Wrighton's emphasis on the importance of back electron transfer pathways.

Chemical formula for photosynthesis

The science of chemistry is predicated on the atomic theory of matter. No matter how intricate the structure of an atom or molecule, its constituent parts will be conserved after the exchanges of a chemical reaction. In fact it was the development of the balance scale in the 18th century that led to the birth of modern chemistry. Once it was realized that the laws of thermodynamics and the principle of the conservation of energy provide an elegant set of constraints, chemistry became the ultimate puzzle-solving science. One could feel fairly confident—once most of the basic elements and compounds and their simple proportional relationships had been discovered—that the answer could be found in the laboratory, if only the pieces could be assembled into the proper, coherent picture. For chemists, this usually means recreating an interaction under conditions that are precisely repeatable.

The Balanced Chemical Equation for Photosynthesis?

Wrighton and other chemists around the world are trying to use what has been learned about photosynthesis in nature to create a

These "particles" of electromagnetic energy were observed to be proportional to the frequency of light in which they were traveling. Thus when a photon of a particular energy strikes a metal, for instance, that metal's outer electron(s) will be ejected by the photoelectric effect only when the incoming photon has sufficient energy to knock it loose. Light and the energy value of the photons it transmits vary according to its wavelength frequency; materials vary according to how easy it is to displace a valence electron. When this does occur, the photon is said to be absorbed by the substance, and actually ceases to exist as a particle. Aerobic plants absorb photons of light from the sun within a certain frequency range, and this drives the movement of electrons that yields the synthesis of carbohydrates and oxygen. This is the theoretical physics underlying photosynthesis. But it is the physical chemistry that interests Wrighton and his colleagues, who hope to develop analogous systems that would produce usable energy.

such energy. Plants have evolved mechanisms to overcome both of these problems. In plants, chlorophyll provides what chemists classify as a sensitizer, a species that absorbs light and effects subsequent chemical reactions. "The assembly of chlorophyll collects and aggregates light energy," Wrighton explained.

See the balanced overall chemical reaction for photosynthesis.

But of what does this energy shower of light consist? How can certain structures convert it to chemical energy that is useful to them? The background to answering this question involves two of the giants of 20th-century physics—Planck and Einstein—whose work at the beginning of this century provided important fundamental insights into the energy of light. German physicist Max Planck in 1900

"The second critical feature of the photosynthetic apparatus," Wrighton emphasized, is that "in order to achieve high solar conversion efficiency, the formation of a single fuel molecule will involve the energy from more than one photon." The ratio of photons to electrons released will probably be one to one in any system—as it is in nature—but there must be a way to harness the energy from several of these freed-up electrons to produce a chemical transformation. "If a one-photon mechanism were operative in nature, the process would be doomed to low efficiency," he explained, because a single photon that would break down H2O would have to be in the blue wavelength range, and "sunlight does not contain much energy of blue light, or of shorter wavelengths." Nature's way of aggregating and using more than one photon of the energy that is abundant, throughout the entire optical wavelength spectrum, is photosynthesis.

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RE: Is photosynthesis a chemical reaction

ed. The sequence of molecular events occurs within a structure that biochemists classify as the Z-scheme (). This molecular arrangement accomplishes an oxidation-reduction, or redox, reaction that involves the actual (or in some cases only the apparent) transfer of electrons between species. When these two phenomena occur together, the overall activity is described as a redox reaction, whereby in one half of the reaction a species loses electrons—is oxidized—and in the other half of the reaction a different species gains electrons—is reduced (Ebbing, 1990). Nature uses photons to free electrons from chlorophyll and—through a series of steps—to oxidize H2O, and in the process O2 is created as a product of the reduction of CO2.

Photosynthesis - perfect chemistry in Nature



-During respiration, the chemical energy stored in glucose is converted into other forms of energy, such as mechanical energy or thermal energy.

This tutorial introduces basics of chemical reactions

The Z-scheme provides an architecture of molecules, located in what biochemists call the reaction center of the plant, that facilitates the redox reaction. Crucial to this arrangement is a mechanism that will serve not only to separate an electron from its atomic species, but will also move it, once it has been separated, in a timed and coordinated way along a known path. Summarizing the three essential elements of the Z-scheme, Wrighton said that the two natural photosystems found in all aerobic plants work in series to (1) absorb four photons of light to energize chlorophyll, (2) release electrons by charge separation and move them by unidirectional charge transport

What is the chemical equation for photosynthesis

Figure 2.1 Z-scheme representation of the photosynthetic apparatus showing, on an electrochemical potential scale, components for light absorption, charge transport, and redox processes for oxidation of H2O to O2 and reduction of CO2 and H2O to carbohydrates. (Courtesy of M. Wrighton.)

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