An allosteric photoredox catalyst inspired by photosynthetic machinery

Alejo M. Lifschitz, Ryan M. Young, Jose Mendez-Arroyo, Charlotte L. Stern, C. Michael McGuirk, Michael R. Wasielewski, Chad A. Mirkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Biological photosynthetic machinery allosterically regulate light harvesting via conformational and electronic changes at the antenna protein complexes as a response to specific chemical inputs. Fundamental limitations in current approaches to regulating inorganic light-harvesting mimics prevent their use in catalysis. Here we show that a light-harvesting antenna/reaction centre mimic can be regulated by utilizing a coordination framework incorporating antenna hemilabile ligands and assembled via a high-yielding, modular approach. As in nature, allosteric regulation is afforded by coupling the conformational changes to the disruptions in the electrochemical landscape of the framework upon recognition of specific coordinating analytes. The hemilabile ligands enable switching using remarkably mild and redox-inactive inputs, allowing one to regulate the photoredox catalytic activity of the photosynthetic mimic reversibly and in situ. Thus, we demonstrate that bioinspired regulatory mechanisms can be applied to inorganic light-harvesting arrays displaying switchable catalytic properties and with potential uses in solar energy conversion and photonic devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6541
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Mar 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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