skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on December 8, 2018

Title: Role of Surface-Capping Ligands in Photoexcited Electron Transfer between CdS Nanorods and [FeFe] Hydrogenase and the Subsequent H 2 Generation

Complexes of CdS nanorods and [FeFe] hydrogenase from Clostridium acetobutylicum have been shown to photochemically produce H 2. This study examines the role of the ligands that passivate the nanocrystal surfaces in the electron transfer from photoexcited CdS to hydrogenase and the H 2 generation that follows. We functionalized CdS nanorods with a series of mercaptocarboxylate surface-capping ligands of varying lengths and measured their photoexcited electron relaxation by transient absorption (TA) spectroscopy before and after hydrogenase adsorption. Rate constants for electron transfer from the nanocrystals to the enzyme, extracted by modeling of TA kinetics, decrease exponentially with ligand length, suggesting that the ligand layer acts as a barrier to charge transfer and controls the degree of electronic coupling. Relative light-driven H 2 production efficiencies follow the relative quantum efficiencies of electron transfer, revealing the critical role of surface-capping ligands in determining the photochemical activity of these nanocrystal-enzyme complexes. Our results suggest that the H 2 production in this system could be maximized with a choice of a surface-capping ligand that decreases the distance between the nanocrystal surface and the electron injection site of the enzyme.
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1932-7447; TRN: US1800427
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Physical Chemistry. C
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 122; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-7447
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
08 HYDROGEN; 09 BIOMASS FUELS; ligands; nanocrystals; hydrogenase
OSTI Identifier: