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ASU Research Takes First Step In Replicating Photosynthesis

Published: Monday, July 14, 2014 - 10:02am

An international team of researchers, led by Arizona State University scientists, has taken the first step in figuring out how to mimic the process of turning sunlight into energy.

The researchers for the first time were able to capture images of the process of splitting water. That’s a key component of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen.

ASU Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Petra Fromme led the team of researchers, and says seeing how the process works could eventually allow humans to replicate it, and create clean energy.

"We want to understand how nature has, 2.5 billion years ago, invented this process of auto-splitting involving oxygen, for clean energy for the future," Fromme said.

Fromme says while the snapshots are a big deal, there’s still a long way to go before scientists will be able to mimic photosynthesis. She said they would first need to see a movie of the process, not just a few snapshots, and at higher resolution than the images they have.