The Swedish Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis is a collaborative research environment with the purpose of advancing the science and utilization of solar fuels - fuel from solar energy. We bring together leading scientists with expertise in molecular biology, biophysics and biochemistry, synthetic chemistry and chemical physics. Together we do fundamental and applied research, developing solutions for a sustainable future. 

Continued online meetings... for now.

Even though many of the toughest restrictions due to the pandemic have been lifted in Sweden, we are still planning to hold all CAP meetings online until further notice. We also continue to give scientific seminars/webinars, utilizing online meeting tools such as Zoom. 

Check our News and Events page every now and then, to see what's next.

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Research news

August 2021: Wailing Kwong, Thomas Wågberg, and Johannes Messinger published an article in International Journal of Hydrogen Energy:

Electrochemical N2 reduction at ambient condition – Overcoming the selectivity issue via control of reactants’ availabilities.

Abstract: Ammonia production via the electrochemical N2 reduction reaction (NRR) at ambient conditions is highly desired as an alternative to the Haber-Bosch process, but remains a great challenge due to the low efficiency and selectivity caused by the competing hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). Herein we investigate the effect of availabilities of reactants (protons, electrons and N2) on NRR using a FeOx-coated carbon fiber paper cathode in various electrochemical configurations. NRR is found viable only under the conditions of low proton- and high N2 availabilities, which are achieved using 0.12 vol% water in LiClO4-ethyl acetate electrolyte and gaseous N2 supplied to the membrane-electrode assembly cathode. This results in an NRR rate of 29 ± 19 pmolNH3 s−1 cm−2 at a Faradaic efficiency of 70 ± 24% at the applied potential of −0.1 V vs. NHE. Other conditions (high proton-, or low N2-availability, or both) yield a lower or negligible amount of ammonia due to the competing HER. Our work shows that promoting NRR by suppressing the HER requires optimization of the operational variables, which serves as a complementary strategy to the development of NRR catalysts.

July 2021: Nora Eliasson, Belinda Pettersson Rimgard, Ashleigh Castner, Cheuk-Wai Tai, Sascha Ott, Haining Tian, and Leif Hammarström published an article in Journal of Physical Chemistry C:

Ultrafast Dynamics in Cu-Deficient CuInS2 Quantum Dots: Sub-Bandgap Transitions and Self-Assembled Molecular Catalysts.

Abstract: The photophysical properties of Cu-deficient Cu0.2In1Sx quantum dots synthesized through a facile aqueous-based procedure have been investigated. Transient absorption experiments were carried out probing in the UV–vis, near-IR, and mid-IR regions, with the aim to (i) study the photophysical properties of the quantum dots and (ii) monitor kinetics of electron transfer to a molecular catalyst. When pumping sub-bandgap transitions, negative (bleach) signals were observed that were spectrally and kinetically distinct from those observed with bandgap pump wavelengths. Herein, these distinct contributions are suggested to result from the overlapping bleaching of state filling electrons and trapped holes. Such an interpretation highlights the importance of considering the hole-contributions to the bleach for the proper determination of carrier kinetics in similar systems. A model complex of the [Fe2]-hydrogenase active site was introduced to explore the potential of the quantum dots as photosensitizers for molecular catalysts. The quantum dot photoluminescence was quenched upon catalyst addition, and direct evidence of the singly reduced catalyst was found by transient absorption in the UV–vis and mid-IR. The catalyst accepted reducing equivalents on a subpicosecond time scale upon photoexcitation of the quantum dots, despite no covalent linking chemistry being applied. This implies that charge transfer is not limited by diffusion rates, thus confirming the presence of spontaneous quantum dot and catalyst self-assembly.

June 2021: João S. Rodrigues and Pia Lindberg published an article in Metabolic Engineering Communications:

Metabolic engineering of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 for improved bisabolene production.

Abstract: Terpenoids are a wide class of organic compounds with industrial relevance. The natural ability of cyanobacteria to produce terpenoids via the methylerythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway makes these organisms appealing candidates for the generation of light-driven cell factories for green chemistry. Here we address the improvement of the production of (E)-α-bisabolene, a valuable biofuel feedstock, in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 via sequential heterologous expression of bottleneck enzymes of the native pathway. Expression of the bisabolene synthase is sufficient to complete the biosynthetic pathway of bisabolene. Expression of a farnesyl-pyrophosphate synthase from Escherichia coli did not influence production of bisabolene, while enhancement of the MEP pathway via additional overexpression of 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase (DXS) and IPP/DMAPP isomerase (IDI) significantly increased production per cell. 

However, in the absence of a carbon sink, the overexpression of DXS and IDI leads to significant growth impairment. The final engineered strain reached a volumetric titre of 9 ​mg ​L−1 culture of bisabolene after growing for 12 days. When the cultures were grown in a high cell density (HCD) system, we observed an increase in the volumetric titres by one order of magnitude for all producing-strains. The strain with improved MEP pathway presented an increase twice as much as the remaining engineered strains, yielding more than 180 ​mg ​L−1 culture after 10 days of cultivation. Furthermore, the overexpression of these two MEP enzymes prevented the previously reported decrease in the bisabolene specific titres when grown in HCD conditions, where primary metabolism is usually favoured. We conclude that fine-tuning of the cyanobacterial terpenoid pathway is crucial for the generation of microbial platforms for terpenoid production on industrial-scale.

January 2021: Gerrit Boschloo, Marina Freitag, Leif Hammarström, Erik M J Johansson, Jacinto Sá , Haining Tian, published a feature article in Nanotechnology:

Dye sensitized solar cells In: Nanotechnology for catalysis and solar energy conversion


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Participants in the CAP workshop in Sigtuna, Sweden, April 26-27, 2018.

Participants in the CAP workshop in Sigtuna, Sweden, April 26-27, 2018.

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Last updated September 1, 2021