Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists report how protons induce water cages

03.05.2004


Researchers from Yale University, University of Pittsburgh and University of Georgia have reported new data on how the fundamental arrangement of water molecules is affected by the presence of protons. The work appears in Sciencexpress.



This research is about the surprising flexibility of water molecules that makes water the medium of choice for biological systems. The study examines the 50-year-old question of how many water molecules share a proton, a crucial issue in the transportation of charge in biological processes.

Models predict a proton to be strongly bound to one water molecule (Eigen model) or shared between two water molecules (Zundel model) in a manner that depends on how many water molecules are available. With 21 molecules, it was thought that the water could form a "nanocage" structure that holds the Eigen form of the proton in the center. This report confirms the formation of a dodecahedral (20-sided) cage, but the data displayed no trace of the Eigen species.


To determine how a precisely determined number of water molecules interconnect to form these cages, the scientists first weighed the cluster (after the proton was added), and then monitored changes in the infrared absorption that occurred upon addition of each new water molecule.

"The idea was brought to my attention by John Fenn, Yale Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering and Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry ’02," said Mark Johnson, professor of chemistry and head of the Yale research team. "Fenn suggested that we might be able to crack this important problem with current technology. We collaborated with groups at Pitt and Georgia using experimental techniques developed in my lab and analyzed the results using Pitt’s super computers."

"Water is tricky because sometimes it is just a solvent. Like with coffee. All water does for me is hold the caffeine there, evenly distributed throughout the solution" said Johnson. "For many other things, particularly in biology, water is actively participating in chemical change. It is the medium for shuttling protons. Individual water molecules become part of a network or wire that guides the flow of protons."

In nature, proton transport is unlike other things that move through water while retaining their molecular identity. Protons move much more quickly by trading water partners down the chain, like the executive desk toy with five steel balls. The proton that comes out at the end is not the same one that went in. One example where this mechanism is being currently entertained is in photosynthesis, where the conversion of light energy to useful energy by charge separation may be mediated by water molecules. Molecules once thought to be innocent bystanders may turn out to be the main players!


The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

Janet Rettig Emanuel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.yale.edu/
http://www.sciencexpress.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Historical rainfall levels are significant in carbon emissions from soil
30.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht 3D printer inks from the woods
30.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Reptile vocalization is surprisingly flexible

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

EU research project DEMETER strives for innovation in enzyme production technology

30.05.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>