skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: New Snapshots of Photosynthesis Captured by SLAC’s X-ray Laser

The machinery responsible for photosynthesis – while commonplace and essential to life on Earth – is still not fully understood. One of its molecular mysteries involves how a protein complex, photosystem II, harvests energy from light and uses it to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The process generates the oxygen in the air that we breathe. New X-ray methods at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have captured the first detailed image of this protein complex at room temperature, which allows scientists to closely watch how water is split during photosynthesis at the temperature at which it occurs naturally. The research team took the images using the bright, fast pulses of light at SLAC’s X-ray free-electron laser – the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), a DOE Office of Science User Facility.
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1333567
Resource Type:
Other
Research Org:
SLAC (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC), Menlo Park, CA (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
47 OTHER INSTRUMENTATION PHOTOSYNTHESIS; X-RAY FREE-ELECTRON LASER; LINAC COHERENT LIGHT SOURCE; LCLS; PHOTOSYSTEM II; X-RAY PULSES; X-RAY LIGHT