PHOTOsynthesis PHOTOgraphed in Real Time!

That’s right. Photosynthesis, the chemical process by which plants, algae, and cyanobacteria convert light into fuel, has been visually recorded as the reaction happens in real time using x-ray crystallography.  To be more specific, scientists captured the moment when Photosystem II splits water molecules into oxygen, protons, and electrons.  Using the SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source, the most powerful x-ray laser to diffract – and thereby visualize – the minute changes in Photsysem II’s structure as the water molecule is split.  The international team of researchers took femptosecond “snap-shots” to create a streaming view of the chemical reaction “in action”.

Did you see it?

Read more about the visualization process and potential benefits at SciNews.

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