Electron Bifurcation: Progress and Grand Challenges

Carolyn Lubner, Jonathon Yuly, Peng Zhang, David Beratan, John Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus Citations


Electron bifurcation moves electrons from a two-electron donor to reduce two spatially separated one-electron acceptors. If one of the electrons reduces a high-potential (lower energy) acceptor, then the other electron may proceed "uphill" to reduce a low-potential (higher energy) acceptor. This mechanism is now considered the third mode of energy transduction in biology, and offers promise for the development of novel bioinspired energy conversion strategies. Nature uses electron bifurcation to realize highly sought-after reactions: Reversible CO2 reduction, nitrogen fixation, and hydrogen production. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of electron bifurcation, including both recent progress and outstanding questions in understanding and developing artificial electron bifurcation systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)11823-11832
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Communications
Issue number79
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-73515


  • electron bifurcation
  • gating electron flow


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