Platinized Chloroplasts: A Novel Photocatalytic Material

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Science  20 Dec 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4732, pp. 1373-1375
DOI: 10.1126/science.230.4732.1373


Colloidal platinum was prepared and precipitated directly onto photosynthetic thylakoid membranes from aqueous solution and entrapped on fiberglass filter paper. This composition of matter was capable of sustained simultaneous photoevolution of hydrogen and oxygen when irradiated at any wavelength in the chlorophyll absorption spectrum. Experimental data support the interpretation that part of the platinum metal catalyst is precipitated adjacent to the photosystem I reduction site of photosynthesis and that electron transfer occurs across the interface between photosystem I and the catalyst. Photoactivity of the material was dependent on the nature of the ionic species from which the platinum was precipitated. All photoactive samples were prepared from the hexachloroplatinate(IV) ion, whereas samples prepared by precipitation of the tetraammineplatinum(II) ion showed no hydrogen evolution activity and only transient oxygen activity. This system is among the simplest known for photosynthetically splitting water into molecular hydrogen and oxygen.