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Vibrations in Vegetables: Energetics in Process of Photosynthesis Could Boost Solar Power Efficiency

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014

Vibration Instigated Photosynthesis

Vibration Instigated Photosynthesis

By Christina Sarich, originally posted on Nation of Change

For all those who think the adage, ‘everything is vibration’ is a bunch of bunkum, check this out: biophysics researchers have discovered that molecular vibrations deep within our vegetables help them to process light for photosynthesis, the primary way a plant metabolizes energy from the sun. This discovery could lead to more efficient solar arrays and better energy storage.

Utilizing short pulses of light to peer inside spinach leaves to see how the mechanics of photosynthesis really work, researchers from the University of Michigan have discovered that the vibrations of plant molecules aid in energy conversion of light into power a plant can sustain itself with.

This news could drastically improve the way engineers make solar cells and energy storage systems, potentially aiding in the efficiency of such systems. This new discovery also adds evidence to the latest quantum biology debate, suggesting that one of the most important biochemical processes on the plant – turning sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into food – happens through vibration.

The UM researchers identified specific molecular vibrations that enable charge separation, wherein electrons are set free from atoms in the preliminary steps pf photosynthesis, which then allows a plant to convert solar energy into chemical energy, upon which it thrives.

Jennifer Ogilvie, an associate professor of physics and biophysics at the University of Michigan and lead author of a paper on the findings that will be published in Nature Chemistry said:

“Both biological and artificial photosynthetic systems take absorbed light and convert it to charge separation. In the case of natural photosynthesis, that charge separation leads to biochemical energy. In artificial systems, we want to take that charge separation and use it to generate electricity or some other useable energy source such as biofuels.”

This entire process is time efficient too. It takes place in approximately one hundredth of a billionth of the amount of time it takes you to blink an eye. The only way the process could be measured was by developing ultrafast laser pulses of light that peered into the process of photosynthesis, essentially taking snapshots of what was occurring in the chloroplasts of the plant cells. They used store-bought spinach purchased at a grocery store to conduct the experiment. They removed the stems and veins and put the spinach in a blender, gently removing the protein complexes responsible for the electron-removal. This is what allowed Ogilve and her team to deduce that the process was energetic in nature.

“This particular system is of great interest to people because the charge separation process happens extremely efficiently,” she said. “In artificial materials, we have lots of great light absorbers and systems that can create charge separation, but it’s hard to maintain that separation long enough to extract it to do useful work. In the photosystem II reaction center, that problem is nicely solved.”

Using a spectroscope, the researchers excited the photosystem II complexes and examined the signals they produced. They could see energy being transferred when a charge seperation occurred. In this manner, they were able to see how the energy pathways happenned within the structure of the spinach leaves.

“We can carefully track what’s happening,” Ogilvie said. “We can look at where the energy is transferring and when the charge separation has occurred.”

The spectroscopic sounds recorded by the researchers also revealed lasting echoes, revealing specific vibrational motions for the process of photosynthesis to occur.

“What we’ve found is that when the gaps in energy level are close to vibrational frequencies, you can have enhanced charge separation,” Ogilvie said. “It’s a bit like a bucket-brigade: how much water you transport down the line of people depends on each person getting the right timing and the right motion to maximize the throughput. Our experiments have told us about the important timing and motions that are used to separate charge in the photosystem II reaction center.”

If scientists studying solar energy can reverse engineer this same process happening within plants, utilizing materials that can appropriately mimic the vibrational frequency which allows for efficient charge separation within cells, it could lead to better output for solar systems throughout the world.

NationofChange was founded during a time in which people were marching in the streets and demanding to be heard. – See more at: https://secure.nationofchange.org/#sthash.GqA20vty.dpuf
NationofChange was founded during a time in which people were marching in the streets and demanding to be heard. Our first videos and articles were made on laptops at the sites of public resistance. Our first campaign was to raise funds for jackets and sleeping bags for the protesters in Zuccotti Square and since then our humble organization has grown to reach millions of readers worldwide. Over the last two years we have organized and coordinated with activist groups to fight Corporate lies and expose Corporate Criminals. We have also launched nation-wide mass media campaigns via television, billboards, and internet ads to speak truth to crooks like the Koch Brothers and Monsanto. Last year we teamed up with Strike Debt and with your help we abolished over half of a million dollars of distressed debt for American families. – See more at: https://secure.nationofchange.org/#sthash.GqA20vty.dpuf

 

NationofChange was founded during a time in which people were marching in the streets and demanding to be heard. Our first videos and articles were made on laptops at the sites of public resistance. Our first campaign was to raise funds for jackets and sleeping bags for the protesters in Zuccotti Square and since then our humble organization has grown to reach millions of readers worldwide. Over the last two years we have organized and coordinated with activist groups to fight Corporate lies and expose Corporate Criminals. We have also launched nation-wide mass media campaigns via television, billboards, and internet ads to speak truth to crooks like the Koch Brothers and Monsanto. Last year we teamed up with Strike Debt and with your help we abolished over half of a million dollars of distressed debt for American families. – See more at: https://secure.nationofchange.org/#sthash.GqA20vty.dpuf

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