Scientists from Arizona State University have perfected their earlier research on an artificial leaf with help from colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory. The new artificial leaf can now imitate the natural one.
In the earlier research, scientists had a problem with the photosynthesis process of the leaf to produce hydrogen and oxygen. To resolve this, they cross checked the working of their leaf with a natural leaf. Initially they found that the fast chemical reaction and slow chemical reaction in the leaf were not working efficiently. The fast is the step where light energy is converted into chemical energy and the slow is the step where chemical energy is used to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen. Further they also found that nature uses an intermediate step wherein one half of the electrons interacted with the fast step and the other half interacted with the slow, thus working in close synthesis with each other.
The second experiment has improved the artificial leaf system which can help scientists explore the opportunity for harnessing solar energy to meet the ever increasing demand of food, fuel and fibre.