Daniel G. Nocera

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Daniel Nocera
Nocera speaking at PopTech
Daniel George Nocera

(1957-07-03) July 3, 1957 (age 66)
Alma materRutgers University (BS)
California Institute of Technology (PhD)
Known forArtificial photosynthesis
Scientific career
InstitutionsHarvard University
Michigan State University
ThesisSpectroscopy, electrochemistry, and photochemistry of polynuclear metal-metal bonded complexes (1984)
Doctoral advisorHarry B. Gray
Doctoral studentsJenny Y. Yang, Christopher Chang, Michelle C. Chang, Zoe Pikramenou, Kwabena Bediako
Other notable studentsJillian Lee Dempsey

Daniel George Nocera (born July 3, 1957) is an American chemist, currently the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University.[1] He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2006 he was described as a "major force in the field of inorganic photochemistry and photophysics".[2] Time magazine included him in its 2009 list of the 100 most influential people.[3][4]

Nocera has opened up new areas of basic research into the mechanisms of energy conversion in biology and chemistry, including the study of multielectron excited states and proton coupled electron transfer (PCET). He works on research applications in artificial photosynthesis and solar fuels, including an "artificial leaf" that mimics photosynthesis in plants.[5] In 2009, Nocera formed Sun Catalytix, a startup for development of the artificial leaf. The company was bought by Lockheed Martin in 2014.

Early life and education[edit]

Daniel George Nocera was born July 3, 1957, in Medford, Massachusetts. He graduated from Bergenfield High School, Bergenfield, New Jersey, in 1975.[5]

Nocera attended Rutgers University, where he worked with Lester R. Morss and Joseph Potenza.[6] Nocera received a B.S. degree in chemistry from Rutgers University in 1979.[7]

He then attended the California Institute of Technology, where he received a PhD in chemistry in 1984[8] for his work with Professor Harry B. Gray on the Spectroscopy, Electrochemistry, and Photochemistry of Polynuclear Metal-Metal Bonded Complexes.[9][10] His work with Gray included the first experimental examination of electron transfer in ruthenium-modified proteins, since considered "a hallmark of research on protein electron transfer".[2]

Career and research[edit]

Nocera joined the faculty of Michigan State University in 1984[5] as assistant professor, and became a full professor at MSU in 1990.[11]

He moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a professor of chemistry in 1997,[11] serving as the W. M. Keck Professor of Energy (2002–2007) and the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy (2007–2013).[12] He was director of the Solar Revolution Project at MIT, founded in 2008.[13][14][15] He became a co-director of the Eni Solar Frontiers Center at MIT when it was created on July 7, 2008.[16]

In February 2012, Nocera agreed to move his research group to the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts,[1][17] where he became the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy.[1]

Nocera's major areas of interest are in biological and chemical energy conversion, focusing on mechanisms at the molecular level and the photogeneration of hydrogen and oxygen.[18] His work on artificial photosynthesis grows out of his basic research into mechanisms of energy conversion in biology and chemistry, particularly those involving multielectron excited states and proton coupled electron transfer (PCET).[19][20][21][22][23]

Nocera argues that a better understanding of the photosynthesis process is essential to the development of energy strategies, because solar energy has the potential to scale up to meet long-term energy demands. He emphasizes that scientists must consider the economics of the materials they propose to use for energy sources and for storage technologies, if they are to develop viable energy alternatives.[24][25]

Multielectron excited states[edit]

Nocera's early work on two-electron bonds and multielectron excited states is considered to have established new paradigms in excited-state chemistry.[2] The idea behind two-electron mixed-valency is that single-electron mixed-valence compounds and two-electron mixed-valence compounds may be analogous: single-electron mixed-valence compounds may react in one-electron steps, while two-electron mixed-valence compounds may react in two-electron steps.[26] Further, a two-electron bond can be predicted to give rise to four multielectronic states.[2][27] Nocera and his lab have extensively studied the excited states of metal complexes and clusters.[28] Two Photon Excitation Spectrum of a Twisted Quadruple Bond Metal−Metal Complex completed the description of the four requisite states for the prototypical quadruple bond of a transition metal complex.[2][29]

Building on the ideas of two-electron mixed-valency, Heyduk and Nocera developed a light-driven molecular photocatalyst. The absorption of light caused the two RhII-X bonds of a dirhodium compound to break, resulting in an active rhodium catalyst which was able to react with hydrohalic acids.[22] Their 2001 report on the generation of H2 from halohalic acid using a molecular photocatalyst is considered to have "opened the door" to photocatalytic production of fuels.[2][18][30]

The artificial leaf[edit]

In 2008, Nocera and postdoctoral fellow Matthew Kanan were believed to have taken an important step towards artificial photosynthesis, when they created an anode electrocatalyst for the oxidation of water, capable of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen gases.[31][32] Their catalyst used cobalt and phosphate, relatively inexpensive and easily obtainable materials.[31][33][34] The catalyst was able to split water into oxygen and protons using sunlight, and could potentially be coupled to a hydrogen gas producing catalyst such as platinum. Although the catalyst broke down during catalysis, it could repair itself.[35]

In 2009, Nocera formed Sun Catalytix, a startup to develop a prototype design for a system to convert sunlight into storable hydrogen which could be used to produce electricity. Such a system would require both technological and commercial breakthroughs to create economically viable components for hydrogen storage, solar panels, and fuel cells.[36][37] In October 2010, Nocera signed with the Tata Group of India to further support research and development. The ideal was to create a stand-alone miniature plant capable of providing enough "personalized energy" to power a small home. Such a device could provide power to homes in isolated areas that are currently inaccessible.[38]

In 2011, Nocera and his research team announced the creation of the first practical "artificial leaf": an advanced solar cell the size of a playing card, capable of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen with ten times the efficiency of natural photosynthesis.[39][40] The silicon solar cell was coated with a thin film of cobalt catalyst on one side, over a protective membrane to prevent the silicon from oxidizing, and a nickel-based catalyst on the other side, to split hydrogen from water.[41] The artificial leaf was featured in Time magazine's list of the top 50 inventions of 2011.[42]

However, in May 2012, Sun Catalytix stated that it would not be scaling up the prototype. The predominant determiner of its cost, the construction of the photovoltaic infrastructure, was still considered too expensive to displace existing energy sources.[43][44] Nocera was reportedly "daunted by the challenges of bringing the technology to market."[45] Nonetheless, researchers at Harvard and elsewhere continue to investigate the possibilities of the artificial leaf, looking for ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency.[45][46]

Low-cost flow battery[edit]

In hopes of developing a product that could be more rapidly brought to market, Sun Catalytix refocused its business model on developing a low-cost rechargeable flow battery for use in grid-scale and commercial-scale storage.[47][48] In 2014, Sun Catalytix was acquired by Lockheed Martin, because it was interested in using the flow battery in its microgrid.[37][47][49][4]

Proton-coupled electron transfer[edit]

The other area in which Nocera is considered a pioneer is proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET). While he did not originate the idea that electron transfer and proton transfer could be studied as coupled processes, he published one of the foundational papers demonstrating a model for such study in 1992.[2][50] Using Zn porphyrin as a donor and 3,4- dinitrobenzoic acid as an acceptor, his team demonstrated photoexcitation of the Zn porphyrin and an electron transfer process utilizing a hydrogen bond. This also illustrated the viability of the approach as a model for studying biological energy conversion.[2] PCET has become an important technique for studying energy conversion in biological processes at the molecular level.[2][51]

Other research[edit]

Other contributions include synthesis of an S = 1/2 kagome lattice, of interest to the study of spin-frustrated systems and conduction mechanisms in superconductors;[52] development of microfluidic optical chemosensors for use on the microscale and nanoscale;[53][54] and molecular tagging velocimetry (MTV) techniques.[55]

Nocera has published over 225 papers.[56][57] He is a co-editor of Photochemistry and Radiation Chemistry (1998).[58] He has served on scientific advisory boards and editorial boards of several large corporations. He was the inaugural editor of Inorganic Chemistry Communications,[2] and was the inaugural chair of the editorial board for ChemSusChem.[59]

Awards and honors[edit]

Nocera has received a number of awards and honors, including the following:[60]

In 2021 he was elected to the American Philosophical Society.[71]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Colen, B. D. (March 8, 2012). "Clean energy pioneer brings lab to Harvard". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "2006 I-APS Awards" (PDF). I-APS Newsletter. 28: 11–14. 2006. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  3. ^ Krupp, Fred (April 30, 2009). "The 2009 Time 100: Daniel Nocera". Time. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "The Future of Renewable Energy". BBC World Service. 2013. How do we develop a practical, reliable, cheap and globally relevant supply of renewable energy and improve on the meagre 10% of our power needs which renewables currently provide? Quentin Cooper travels to the Royal Society of Chemistry's Challenges in Chemical Renewable Energy meeting in Cambridge, UK, to hear about ideas and latest research results from Brazilian authority on bioenergy Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, Cambridge University's creator of better batteries Clare Grey, Harvard pioneer of artificial photosynthesis Daniel Nocera and research director of the UK Energy Research Centre Jim Watson.
  5. ^ a b c Hall, Stephen S. (May 19, 2014). "Daniel Nocera: Maverick Inventor of the Artificial Leaf". National Geographic.
  6. ^ Nair, P. (2012). "Profile of Daniel G. Nocera". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109 (1): 15–17. Bibcode:2012PNAS..109...15N. doi:10.1073/pnas.1118655109. PMC 3252940. PMID 22219319.
  7. ^ a b Pepling, Rachel Sheremeta (February 23, 2009). "ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry". Chemical & Engineering News. 87 (8): 66–67. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  8. ^ Nocera, Daniel George (March 4, 1984). Spectroscopy, electrochemistry, and photochemistry of polynuclear metal-metal bonded complexes. thesis.library.caltech.edu (phd). California Institute of Technology.
  9. ^ Nocera, Daniel George (August 16, 1983). Spectroscopy, Electrochemistry, and Photochemistry of Polynuclear Metal-Metal Bonded Complexes (Abstract). Caltech. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
  10. ^ "CU Energy Initiative/NREL Symposium – Keynote Speakers". University of Colorado at Boulder / National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). October 3, 2006. Archived from the original on March 12, 2008. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
  11. ^ a b "Nineteenth Annual Dow/Karabatsos Distinguished Lectureship presents Prof. Daniel G. Nocera". Michigan State University. Archived from the original on October 30, 2009. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  12. ^ "Curricula Vitae of Principal Investigators". Center for Next-Generation of Materials by Design: An Energy Frontier Research Center. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  13. ^ LaMonica, Martin (April 22, 2008). "MIT says it wants a solar 'revolution'". CNET. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  14. ^ "MIT, The Chesonis Family Foundation Launch The Solar Revolution Project". Solar Industry. April 22, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  15. ^ "MIT, Chesonis Foundation announce solar revolution". MIT News. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. April 22, 2008. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
  16. ^ "The "Eni Solar Frontiers Center" at MIT founded today". ENI. July 7, 2008. Archived from the original on April 19, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  17. ^ Johnson, Carolyn Y. (March 9, 2012). "MIT energy researcher moving to Harvard". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  18. ^ a b Bioinspired chemistry for energy : a workshop summary to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable (Biographies ed.). Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0-309-11487-5.
  19. ^ Nocera, Daniel G. (May 1995). "Chemistry of the Multielectron Excited State". Accounts of Chemical Research. 28 (5): 209–217. doi:10.1021/ar00053a002.
  20. ^ Reece, SY; Hodgkiss, JM; Stubbe, J; Nocera, DG (August 29, 2006). "Proton-coupled electron transfer: the mechanistic underpinning for radical transport and catalysis in biology". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 361 (1472): 1351–64. doi:10.1098/rstb.2006.1874. PMC 1647304. PMID 16873123.
  21. ^ Nocera, Daniel G. (November 2, 2009). "Chemistry of Personalized Solar Energy". Inorganic Chemistry. 48 (21): 10001–10017. doi:10.1021/ic901328v. PMC 3332084. PMID 19775081.
  22. ^ a b Troian-Gautier, Ludovic; Moucheron, Cécile (April 22, 2014). "RutheniumII Complexes bearing Fused Polycyclic Ligands: From Fundamental Aspects to Potential Applications". Molecules. 19 (4): 5028–5087. doi:10.3390/molecules19045028. PMC 6270827. PMID 24759069.
  23. ^ Liddle, Stephen T. (May 6, 2015). Molecular Metal-Metal Bonds: Compounds, Synthesis, Properties. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 303–304. ISBN 978-3-527-33541-1.
  24. ^ Bullis, Kevin (May 9, 2007). "Supplying the World's Energy Needs with Light and Water (Interview)". MIT Technology Review. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  25. ^ Kostigen, Thomas (April 3, 2009). "Time to settle on one green path". Market Watch. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  26. ^ Rosenthal, Joel; Bachman, Julien; Dempsey, Jillian L.; Esswein, Arthur J.; Gray, Thomas G.; Hodgkiss, Justin M.; Manke, David R.; Luckett, Thomas D.; Pistorio, Bradford J.; Veige, Adam S.; Nocera, Daniel G. (July 2005). "Oxygen and hydrogen photocatalysis by two-electron mixed-valence coordination compounds". Coordination Chemistry Reviews. 249 (13–14): 1316–1326. doi:10.1016/j.ccr.2005.03.034. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  27. ^ Cotton, F. Albert; Nocera, Daniel G. (July 2000). "The Whole Story of the Two-Electron Bond, with the δ Bond as a Paradigm" (PDF). Accounts of Chemical Research. 33 (7): 483–490. doi:10.1021/ar980116o. PMID 10913237. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  28. ^ Engebretson, D. S.; Zaleski, J. M.; Leroi, G. E.; Nocera, D. G. (1994). "Direct Spectroscopic Detection of a Zwitterionic Excited State". Science. 265 (5173): 759–762. Bibcode:1994Sci...265..759E. doi:10.1126/science.265.5173.759. PMID 17736272. S2CID 46019104.
  29. ^ Engebretson, Daniel S.; Graj, Evan M.; Leroi, George E.; Nocera, Daniel G. (February 1999). "Two Photon Excitation Spectrum of a Twisted Quadruple Bond Metal−Metal Complex". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 121 (4): 868–869. doi:10.1021/ja983295d.
  30. ^ Heyduk, AF; Nocera, DG (August 31, 2001). "Hydrogen produced from hydrohalic acid solutions by a two-electron mixed-valence photocatalyst". Science. 293 (5535): 1639–41. Bibcode:2001Sci...293.1639H. doi:10.1126/science.1062965. PMID 11533485. S2CID 35989348.
  31. ^ a b Bullis, Kevin (July 31, 2008). "Solar-Power Breakthrough". MIT Technology Review. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
  32. ^ Kleiner, Kurt. "Electrode lights the way to artificial photosynthesis". New Scientist. Reed Business Information. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  33. ^ Kanan, M. W.; Nocera, D. G. (2008). "In Situ Formation of an Oxygen-Evolving Catalyst in Neutral Water Containing Phosphate and Co2+". Science. 321 (5892): 1072–1075. Bibcode:2008Sci...321.1072K. doi:10.1126/science.1162018. PMID 18669820. S2CID 206514692.
  34. ^ Trafton, Anne. "'Major discovery' from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution". MIT News. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  35. ^ Lutterman, Daniel A.; Surendranath, Yogesh; Nocera, Daniel G. (2009). "A Self-Healing Oxygen-Evolving Catalyst". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 131 (11): 3838–3839. doi:10.1021/ja900023k. PMID 19249834.
  36. ^ LaMonica, Martin (September 29, 2009). "MIT spin-off stores sun's energy to power the world". CNET. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  37. ^ a b Jayakumar, Amrita (August 29, 2014). "Energy start-up that created 'artificial leaf' is acquired by Lockheed Martin". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  38. ^ Halarnkar, Samar (March 23, 2011). "Tata signs up MIT energy guru for power from water". Live Mint.
  39. ^ "Press release: Debut of the first practical "artificial leaf"". American Chemical Society. March 27, 2011.
  40. ^ Reece, Steven Y.; Hamel, Jonathan A.; Sung, Kimberly; Jarvi, Thomas D.; Esswein, Arthur J.; Pijpers, Joep J. H.; Nocera, Daniel G. (November 4, 2011). "Wireless Solar Water Splitting Using Silicon-Based Semiconductors and Earth-Abundant Catalysts". Science. 334 (6056): 645–648. Bibcode:2011Sci...334..645R. doi:10.1126/science.1209816. PMID 21960528. S2CID 12720266.
  41. ^ McKenna, Phil (April 7, 2011). "A Greener 'Artificial Leaf'". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  42. ^ Grossman, Lev; Thompson, Mark; Kluger, Jeffrey; Park, Alice; Walsh, Bryan; Suddath, Claire; Dodds, Eric; Webley, Kayla; Rawlings, Nate; Sun, Feifei; Brock-Abraham, Cleo; Carbone, Nick (November 28, 2011). "The 50 Best Inventions". Time. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  43. ^ Richard Van Noorden (2012). "'Artificial leaf' faces economic hurdle". News & Comment. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2012.10703. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  44. ^ Howes, Laura (July 25, 2013). "Artificial leaf in the shade but still growing". Chemistry World. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  45. ^ a b McKenna, Phil (November 17, 2014). "New life for the artificial leaf?". Ensia. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  46. ^ Hitt, Jack (March 29, 2014). "The Artificial Leaf Is Here. Again". The New York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  47. ^ a b Kanellos, Michael (August 26, 2014). "MIT Curse Part II: Lockheed Martin Scoops Up Sun Catalytix". Forbes. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  48. ^ LaMonica, Martin (March 5, 2013). "Sun Catalytix Seeks Second Act with Flow Battery". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  49. ^ Young, Angelo (August 25, 2014). "Lockheed Martin Buys MIT-Spinoff Sun Catalytix After It Reinvents Itself". International Business Times. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  50. ^ Turró, C; Chang, CK; Leroi, GE; Cukier, RI; Nocera, DG (1992). "Photoinduced electron transfer mediated by a hydrogen-bonded interface". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 114 (10): 4013–4015. doi:10.1021/ja00036a081.
  51. ^ Reece, Steven Y.; Nocera, Daniel G. (June 2009). "Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer in Biology: Results from Synergistic Studies in Natural and Model Systems". Annual Review of Biochemistry. 78 (1): 673–699. doi:10.1146/annurev.biochem.78.080207.092132. PMC 4625787. PMID 19344235.
  52. ^ Shores, Matthew P.; Nytko, Emily A.; Bartlett, Bart M.; Nocera, Daniel G. (October 2005). "A Structurally Perfect S=1/2 Kagomé Antiferromagnet". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 127 (39): 13462–13463. doi:10.1021/ja053891p. PMID 16190686.
  53. ^ Rudzinski, Christina M.; Young, Albert M.; Nocera, Daniel G. (February 2002). "A Supramolecular Microfluidic Optical Chemosensor". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 124 (8): 1723–1727. doi:10.1021/ja010176g. PMID 11853449.
  54. ^ Demchenko, Alexander P. (2010). Introduction to Fluorescence Sensing. Springer. pp. 391–394. ISBN 978-90-481-8049-3.
  55. ^ "Molecular Tagging Velocimetry (MTV)". Michigan State University. 2005. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
  56. ^ a b Wang, Linda (February 23, 2009). "2009 ACS National Award Winners". Chemical & Engineering News. 87 (8): 63–69. doi:10.1021/cen-v087n008.p063.
  57. ^ "Publications by year". Nocera Lab. Harvard University. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  58. ^ Wishart, James F.; Daniel G. Nocera (1998). Photochemistry and Radiation Chemistry (Advances in Chemistry Series). American Chemical Society. ISBN 978-0-8412-3499-4.
  59. ^ Nocera, Daniel G. (February 22, 2008). "Great Challenges Ahead". ChemSusChem. 1 (1–2): 8. doi:10.1002/cssc.200800010. PMID 18605660.
  60. ^ "Professor Daniel G. Nocera". Nocera Laboratory. Harvard University. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  61. ^ "Daniel G. Nocera" (PDF). ENI. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 18, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  62. ^ "Alphabetical Index of Active Members" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. 2015. p. 164.
  63. ^ "I-APS Awards". Inter-American Photochemical Society. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  64. ^ ""Chemie-Diamant" für Pionier der Energieforschung: Prof. Nocera erhält den "Burghausen Chemistry Award"". MyTUM-Portal. Technical University of Munich. April 26, 2007.
  65. ^ "Daniel G. Nocera". The Harrison Howe Award. Rochester Section of the ACS. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  66. ^ "Daniel G. Nocera". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  67. ^ "American Crystallographic Association – Past Award Winners". www.amercrystalassn.org. Archived from the original on February 1, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  68. ^ "Data" (PDF). bnl.gov. The Bulletin.
  69. ^ Marsh, Andrew (November 20, 2015). "UofL's renewable energy prize goes to Harvard chemist Daniel Nocera". UofL Today. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  70. ^ "Ira Remsen Award". Maryland Section. November 14, 2018. Archived from the original on November 14, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  71. ^ "The American Philosophical Society Welcomes New Members for 2021".

External links[edit]