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Artificial Photosynthesis

Artificial Photosynthesis

Computer Modeling of Materials for Artificial Photosynthesis

Researchers in the Chemistry Department are able to simulate the processes of materials to better understand how they work. The abundance of water on our planet makes it the ideal source for sustainable alternative fuels.


Water (H2O) can be split into O2 and H2, using chemical reactions that occur on nanomaterials manufactured by a research group in the chemistry department.

A driving force behind chemical reactions is the movement of electrons when the material is excited by sunlight. It is that electron movement that is being investigated by Chemistry graduate student Wendi Sapp.

Using quantum chemical simulation software on the HPC, she can study the motion of electrons throughout the nanomaterials to see how the movement of electrons is affected by its structure. Ultimately, the research should help to identify features of the material that make it either a good or bad candidate for the water-splitting chemical reaction.

Wendi performs her computational research under the guidance of her advisors Dean Ranjit Koodali (USD) and Prof. Dmitri Kilin (USD/NDSU).


Sapp, W., Koodali, R. and Kilin, D., 2016. Charge Transfer Mechanism in Titanium-Doped Microporous Silica for Photocatalytic Water-Splitting Applications. Catalysts, 6(3), p.34.