Fysisch Colloquium

Fysisch Colloquium; Excited-State Proton Transfer: From "super" photoacids to the green fluorescent protein

Proton transfer is arguably the most important reaction in nature, since the vast photosynthetic and photoresponsive electron-transfer machinery exists largely to create a proton gradient.  Our specific objective is the development of rigorous photochemical and photophysical probes for elucidating the structural and energetic requirementsfor proton transfer, including the initial solvation, nuclear motion within the transition structure, charge separation, and diffusional recombination.  On a broader level, this will facilitate progress in a myriad of areas in which proton transfer is required, including “green” solvents such as supercritical fluids, gas-phase clusters, and in biochemical reaction mechanisms.  Over the last several years, we have developed a number of “super” photoacids that allow proton transfer to be examined on an ultrafast timescale and in a variety of objects, greatly expanding the range of systemswith which to push the limits of theory.  While continuing this effort, we have also begun to develop a series of naturalsystems based upon the green fluorescent protein.

Tolbert, L. M.; Solntsev, K. M. “Excited-State Proton Transfer: from Constrained Systems to ‘Super’ Photoacids to Superfast Proton Transfer”Acc. Chem. Res. 2002, 35, 19-27.
Tolbert, L. M.; Solntsev, K. M. “Design and Implementation of “Super”Photoacids.” In Handbook of Hydrogen Transfer. Schowen, R. I., Ed.; Wiley-VCH, 2007; Vol. 1, pp 417-439.