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 Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>