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Home > Departments > Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology > Winfried LEIBL : Photocatalysis and Biohydrogen

Winfried LEIBL : Group Presentation

Bioenergetics, photobiology and photochemistry are the principal domains of our scientific projects. We are interested in the fundamental mechanisms at work in biological or bio-inspired systems which are directly or indirectly activated by light :
• Biochemistry and enzymology of hydrogenases
• Reaction mechanisms of DNA photolyases and cryptochromes
• Design of molecular, bio-inspired photocatalysts

Our group has a long-standing expertise in the study of structure-function relationship in natural photosynthetic systems using a broad range of advanced spectroscopic and photoelectrochemical techniques. Photosynthetic reaction centers in fact represent ideal model systems to investigate reactions of fundamental importance also in other, not photoactive, biological systems. With the use of short laser flashes it is possible to induce the reaction sequences in all complexes in a synchronized way, to study the dynamic properties of the system and to characterize unstable reaction intermediates. In particular, flash excitation allows adding or removing electrons one by one, which is an important aspect in the study of multi-electron reactions often characteristic of catalytic reactions.

The central theme, common to all research projects of the group, is photocatalysis. In different projects we study biological or bio-inspired systems that use the energy of a photon to perform a chemical reaction. The main scientific aim is to understand the underlying reaction mechanisms by elucidating the key processes involved in the photocatalytic process: formation of an excited state, its conversion into reducing or oxidizing power by charge separation reactions, electron transfer and eventual associated proton transfer processes to/from catalytic sites, charge storage on these sites, as well as subsequent chemical transformations.

Three major subjects are studied in our research group: A) Design of molecular, bio-inspired photocatalysts (responsible: W. Leibl); B) Biochemistry and enzymology of hydrogenases (responsible: H. Bottin) and C) Reaction mechanisms of DNA photolyases and cryptochromes (responsible: K. Brettel).

Key words

Biocatalysis; Artificial photosynthesis; Hydrogen; Photolyase; Cryptochrome; Hydrogenase


LEIBL Winfried [Researcher - CEA]
Photocatalysis and Biohydrogen [Leader]
01 69 08 52 89 Saclay - Bât 532

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