Focussing the view on Nature's water-splitting catalyst
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Focussing the view on Nature's water-splitting catalyst

Abstract

About 3 billion years ago Nature invented a catalyst that splits water with high efficiency into molecular oxygen and hydrogen equivalents (protons and electrons). This reaction is energetically driven by sun light and the active centre contains relatively cheap and abundant metals: manganese and calcium. This biological system therefore forms the paradigm for all man made attempts for direct solar fuel production and several studies are underway to determine the electronic and geometric structures of this catalyst. In this report we briefly summarize the problems and the current status of these efforts, and propose a DFT-based strategy for obtaining a reliable high resolution structure of this unique catalyst that includes both the inorganic core and the first ligand sphere.

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