We are a dynamic and visionary organization committed to improving people’s lives in our community through the transforming power of chemistry. We strive to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Kalamazoo, Allegan and Van Buren counties.
An early announcement about our section's participation in Chemists Celebrate Earth Day; we once again hope to have outreach events at the Celery Flats in Portage and at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, and at any other venues where we can have interested volunteers. Note that this outreach event is in its 15th year and has been re-labeled Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW); it will be celebrated April 22-28, 2018, the topic is Oceans and the theme of the publication from the ACS Outreach office will be Dive into Marine Chemistry, which will discuss the chemistry of water from the ocean. The common goal for CCEW, as well as any other activity of our ACS, is to communicate the positive role that chemistry plays in the world.
Are you passionate about educating your community about the environment? If so, then we have the perfect opportunity for you!
KACS is looking for a CCEW Coordinator.
If this is something that interests you, then please contact Lydia Hines for more information!
KACS is considering hosting an evening of Chemistry & Art - specifically chemists painting!
The proposed three hour event would be help at the local family-owned business, Happy Our Art, where one of their trained artists would guide our group in painting the same chemistry-themed image on a 16" × 20" canvas. No art training is required! Only the desire to have fun and learn something new!
This establishment can hold up to 50 people with a minimum of 15 attendees. ACS would provide light refreshments, but the venue is BYOB so participants are also able bring their preferred food and beverage. Typical cost of $35 per person, but the cost may vary depending upon the number of individuals who attend. We are thinking to do this a weeknight in late March or early April. Depending on the interest, we may also have a short speaker.
Are you interested in participating in an evening of Chemistry & Art?
If so, then please contact Christine Pruis with the number of people in your party.
The Kalamazoo College ACS chapter is happy to report that they won the Battle of the Chem Clubs 2018! As the winners, they took home the Separatory Funnel Trophy (image shown of entire team). They also earned the much-coveted Grenade Award for the best performance during the speed titration semi-final (image of award winning titration team also shown). The Battle of the Chem Clubs started in 2007 and is hosted at Michigan State University. There were approximately 80 ACS student participants from 12 Michigan colleges and universities. Exciting events include periodic table darts, a spectroscopy interpretation challenge, dry ice curling, and jeopardy-style questions with buzzers. This is a an exciting day and a great networking opportunity for young chemists.
By Lydia E.M. Hines
The ACS Leadership Institute (LI) gathering is held annually for newly-elected leaders of ACS Local Sections and Divisions to gather for ~48 hours over the third weekend of January to interact with ACS staff and leadership. There are tracks for Division leaders, Region Leaders, and Local Section Leaders for the most beneficial interaction of leaders in each of these tracks. The well-designed Leadership Courses developed by ACS since 1965 are also offered to participants. There were many opportunities to share best programs and practices with the large group so all could benefit from others' processes and successes, as well as to learn about pitfalls to avoid.
At LI, we were regularly reminded about writing reports of our activities as they occur through the year and placing them in FORMS in preparation for the Annual Report submission. Another recurrent theme was that members are more likely to read "Social Media" such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc., than e-mails, or the website, though sections were encouraged to maintain a website (note that our KACS Section does have a facebook pages and website).
Another topic of conversation at the LI was that it is disappointing that many members are not aware of our Society's member-friendly programs and amazing services. There is the ACS website but it has MANY layers of information through which to navigate to get to what one needs. In the next Newsletter I will present some information about ACS's career offerings; below I will talk about the often-misunderstood difference between Districts and Regions:
The ACS has many opportunities for service to its members and to the public - the Local Section (LS) is one of them. Members are assigned to a LS based on their mailing address of record - any who report an address with zip codes in Kalamazoo, Allegan or Van Buren counties are assigned to the Kalamazoo Local Section. Members may request re-assignment to a local section of their choice. Members of a Section are encouraged to inform the section's leadership of programs which would interest them, and to participate in section activities which are announced through use of our Facebook page, our newsletter, e-blasts, and on our website, which has a list of current officers - we would love to hear from you!
Local Sections are assigned to Voting Districts, of which there are 6, each with an elected voting representative on the Board of Directors (BoD). Per our National ACS Bylaws, Districts must have approximately equal numbers of members, so occasionally individual local sections may be moved to a new district - Kalamazoo moved from District II to District V about 4 years ago - There are also six Directors-at-Large on the ACS BoD.
Another, non-bylaw-mandated, grouping of Local Sections is
the Region, a geographical area of local sections
initiated around the time of WWII, which gave ACS members
opportunity to meet in a smaller, more accessible and affordable
professional meeting format than at the two national meetings, to
present scientific papers and form networks for professional
enhancement. There are 10 Regions. Our Kalamazoo
Section is part of the
Some of you may remember that in 2015 our KACS co-hosted a Regional Meeting with the Western Michigan Section, which belongs to the Central Region, in Grand Rapids (the JGLCRM2015); many of you attended, organized symposia, and presented your research orally or on posters. The Huron Valley Section, in the Central Region, has invited our Section to co-host a joint meeting with them again in 2027! Who is willing to work at that??
In the next Newsletter I would like to highlight a very useful ACS career service which was brought up at the LI as a result of a collaborative project idea presented by the Huron Valley section representative and the Kalamazoo section rep (me).
By Steve Seacrest
Say what now? I know, didn't see that coming, but it looks that plants (and some bacteria and algae) use quantum mechanics to do photosynthesis. Here is briefly my understanding of how this discovery has come about and the current state of research (as interpreted by my mind's limited ability to follow Hamiltonian and Eigen-state discussions before it says I'm blown, let's get a margarita).
Much of the anatomical and chemical reaction features of photosynthesis had been worked out. The overall reaction scheme was understood as plants use sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide to sugar and molecular oxygen, via a series of light dependent (light harvesting) and independent (Calvin Cycle) reactions. The light dependent, light harvesting part of this deal, which is what makes plants and photosynthetic bacteria and algae special, is what we're interested in here.
A low-to- high zoom-in magnification of the plant anatomy involved in light harvesting (shown below) goes like this:
To get to the quantum mechanical part of the story, we need to discuss the photosystems in the thylakoid membrane (II and I in the diagram) at the molecular level.
By the end of the last millennium the thylakoid membrane photosystems were known to be protein complexes that contained embedded pigments (chlorophyll and carotenoids), oriented in the thylakoid membrane as a reaction center surrounded by an antenna complex. Here are two different examples of photosystem diagrams.
And the light harvesting mechanism was explained as a chlorophyll molecule takes a photon in the face, exciting one of its electrons. The excited electron is passed from chlorophyll molecule-to- molecule (and sometimes to carotenoids) and before the electron's excitement wears off, it arrives at the Reaction Center where it is stabilized and sent out of the photosystem to be part of the electron transport chain. The antenna system allows multiple chlorophyll molecules to be snagging photons in concert, feeding a steady stream of excited electrons to the Reaction System for processing. A very elegant design.
Photosystem Complex structural and functional characterization data were becoming much more detailed, and as often happens, the new data challenged the understanding of the light harvesting dynamics. Structural data coming out indicated:
What didn't match up considering these data is how excited electrons could randomly be passed among up to 400 pigment molecules and arrive at the reaction center in 5 picoseconds still containing 90% of their initial photon-excited energy.
Something else had to be going on.
One of the things going on looked to be how the chlorophylls handled photon-excited electrons. Studies using 2D-electronic spectroscopy indicated that because the pigment molecules are spatially very close to each other, 2-3 chlorophyll molecules at a time share the excited electrons via resonance, the shared system being termed an exciton. The application of excitons means fewer excited electron hand-offs to get to the Reaction Center. It also makes light harvesting more efficient in that excitons can handle multiple excited electrons, at different energy levels simultaneously. And the excitation decay rate in excitons is significantly slower than for individual pigment molecules.
Then toward the end of the 2000's, some landmark experimental work was done by researchers using the 2D-electronic spectroscopy techniques developed to study the chlorophyll excitons. They studied the excitation dynamics of individual protein-pigment subunits hit with femtosecond-pulsed lasers. The data from these studies showed (among other things):
These data led to the remarkable conclusion that the photon-induced excitation energy was being passed through the protein-pigment subunit via a quantum coherent mechanism. A conclusion supported by theoretical calculations indicating the energy electronics and spatially orientation of the chlorophyll molecules were suitable for supporting quantum coherence.
The proposal that quantum coherence is used within the Photosystems to transfer excited electrons to the Reaction Centers almost instantaneously, with almost no energy loss, is consistent with the available data (and just felt right).
However, there was the very nagging question of how does the femtosecond-scale quantum coherence observed in isolated protein-pigment subunits translate to picosecond-scale coherence in the much larger, very environmentally noisy Photosystem Complexes?
Additional experiments with protein-pigment complexes and even larger Photosystem Complexes continue to demonstrate that quantum coherence does indeed occur during light harvesting. And in trying to understand how quantum coherence can be prolonged for picoseconds in a noisy biological system at 10-40 C (280-310 K), research has become focused on the photosystem matrix proteins.
The matrix proteins of the Photosystem protein-pigment subunits, in addition to providing a scaffolding holding the chlorophyll and carotenoid pigment molecules in place, are also the pigment molecules' contact with their surrounding environment. It's the vibrational energy of the proteins that relay external environmental information to the pigment molecules. And researchers have found that the protein vibrational energy is on the same order as the pigment molecules' spectral energy, so they readily interact.
Research has now shown that the vibrational energy of the matrix proteins, which is affected by environmental factors like temperature and degree of sunlight exposure, controls the overall excited pigment quantum coherence interference patterns of the Photosystems. The vibrational control afforded by the proteins prolongs beneficial quantum coherence, directing excited electrons toward the Reaction Centers, while resulting in decoherence of non-beneficial superposition wave functions.
This is where one has to say Holy Caesar Salad Batman! Not only have these photosynthetic biological systems learned to use quantum mechanics, they've learned how to control the mechanics to create balanced, mixed coherent-decoherent systems.
This optimized approach applied to photonic energy harvesting for photosynthesis has been termed noise-assisted coherent excitation energy transport, and explains how chlorophyll electrons can be excited by photons, then transported and captured in 1-5 picoseconds, while losing <10% of their energy.
Researchers are investigating how man-made solar power systems can be made more efficient by mimicking these photo-harvesting techniques. Areas under development include genetic manipulation of biological systems to further improve light harvesting, and the incorporation of biological components into synthetic solar power devices.
And as a classic case of once we recognize something we start seeing it everywhere, researchers are now seeing evidence that the controlled use of quantum mechanics is happening in other bio-system functions including magneto-navigation (in bird migration) and olfaction (in animals and humans). The term Quantum Biology has started to be used as a name for the biosystem use of quantum mechanics.
Anna, et al. A little coherence in photosynthetic light harvesting. BioScience, (2014) 64(1), 14-25.
Asadian, et al. Motional effects on the efficiency of excitation transfer. New Journal of Physics, (2010) 12, 075019.
Brooks. Quantum effects in biology: golden rule in enzymes, olfaction, photosynthesis and magnetodetection. Proc. R. Soc. A (2017), 473, 20160822.
Chin, et al. Coherence and decoherence in biological systems: principles of noise- assisted transport and the origin of long-lived coherences. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A (2012) 370, 3638-3657.
Fassioli, et al. Photosynthetic light harvesting: excitons and coherence. J. R. Soc. Interface (2014) 11, 20130901.
Fleming, et al. Design principles of photosynthetic light harvesting. Faraday Discuss. (2012) 155, 27.
Hoyer, et al. Realistic and verifiable coherent control of excitonic states in a light- harvesting complex. New Journal of Physics (2014) 16, 045007.
Lloyd. Quantum coherence in biological systems. Journal of Physics: Conference Series (2011) 302, 012037.
Schlau-Cohen. Principles of light harvesting from single photosynthetic complexes. RSC Interface Focus (2015) 5, 20140088.
Zhang, et al. Delocalized quantum states enhance photocell efficiency. (2014)
Summer Science Exhibition 2016: Quantum secrets of photosynthesis. YouTube video posted by The Royal Society.
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