Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Dongming Mei

Second Advisor

Dr. Tina Keller

Third Advisor

Dr. Wenqin Xu


Kinetic Isotope Effect, Artificial photosynthesis, Oxygen production, Ruthenium, Water splitting

Subject Categories

Biological and Chemical Physics


The world’s demand for energy is ever-increasing, but its fuel resources are being depleted at an alarming rate. A potential solution for this crisis lies in using ruthenium-based compounds to produce hydrogen for use in fuel cells. This research uses the process of artificial photosynthesis to learn more about a promising ruthenium-based compound, Ru(bpy)₂(bpyNO)(PF₆)₂. The experiment tests the reaction for oxygen production in both H2O and D2O to determine the Kinetic Isotope Effect of the compound and, thus, aid future research working to understand the reaction mechanisms. The analysis shows that the reaction demonstrates an inverse Kinetic Isotope Effect. However, the study was limited by the consistency of the equipment’s measurements and the small number of tests that were able to be completed. Further work with this compound should address this issue and aim to produce more conclusive results than the ones obtained by this study. However, this experiment provides knowledge to the scientific field that is pioneering research of clean, alternative fuel using artificial photosynthesis.



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