© 2018

Energy Conversion in Natural and Artificial Photosynthesis

  • Provides a direct comparison and overview of solar energy conversion processes in natural photosynthesis and artificial, biomimetic analogs

  • Includes essential information for the design of solar water-splitting cells/solar fuel-producing devices

  • Presents the content in a highly accessible way, using simple language, illustrations and tables


Part of the Springer Series in Chemical Physics book series (CHEMICAL, volume 117)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Katharina Brinkert
    Pages 1-1
  3. Katharina Brinkert
    Pages 3-8
  4. Katharina Brinkert
    Pages 33-54
  5. Katharina Brinkert
    Pages 55-74
  6. Katharina Brinkert
    Pages 75-86
  7. Katharina Brinkert
    Pages 87-96
  8. Katharina Brinkert
    Pages 97-110
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 125-127

About this book


This book discusses the basic principles and processes of solar energy conversion in natural photosynthesis. It then directly compares them with recent developments and concepts currently being pursued in artificial photosynthetic systems that are capable of utilizing sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into a chemical fuel. 

In this regard, the main focus is on photoelectrochemical cells, in which semiconducting photoanodes and -cathodes modified with (electro-) catalysts are used to oxidize water, produce hydrogen and reduce carbon dioxide in a monolithic device. The fundamental photochemical and photophysical processes involved are presented and discussed, along with protection mechanisms and efficiency calculations for both natural and artificial photosynthesis. In turn, key parameters that are crucial for the efficient operation of natural photosynthesis are identified. Lastly, their validity and applicability in the design of artificial solar-driven water-splitting systems are examined. 


Principles of Solar Energy Conversion Photosystem II, Mn4CaO5 Cluster Solar-Driven Water Splitting Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer Tyrosine-Histidine Interaction CO2 Fixation, RuBisCO Light Harvesting Artificial Photosynthesis Redox Cofactor Tuning Molecular Biomimetics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

About the authors

Katharina Brinkert received her Ph.D. degree from Imperial College London and a M.Sc. from Uppsala University, Sweden. Currently, she is holding a Leopoldina PostDoctoral Scholarship for her work with Prof. Harry B. Gray at the California Institute of Technology. She has specialized in natural photosynthesis and molecular bioenergetics and is presently advancing artificial photosynthesis systems, analyzing and developing photoelectrochemical solar fuel cells. Previously, she was a Research Fellow at the European Space Agency, where she investigated light-assisted hydrogen production in semiconductor-electrocatalyst systems in micro-to-zero-gravity environments for life sustaining applications in space. Her research interests comprise fundamental processes of light-assisted water oxidation, CO2 reduction and N2 fixation, solar energy conversion systems and investigations of hybrid enzyme-semiconductor structures for sensoric and (photo)electrocatalytic applications. Dr. Katharina Brinkert is a member of the International Society of Photosynthesis Research, International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE), The Electrochemical Society (ECS), Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh), German Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry (DBG), Solar Fuels Network (UK) and she is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Energy Conversion in Natural and Artificial Photosynthesis
  • Authors Katharina Brinkert
  • Series Title Springer Series in Chemical Physics
  • Series Abbreviated Title Springer Ser. Chem. Physics
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Energy Energy (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-77979-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-08591-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-77980-5
  • Series ISSN 0172-6218
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VII, 127
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Renewable and Green Energy
    Energy Systems
    Physical Chemistry
    Renewable and Green Energy
    Plant Biochemistry
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