Consortium for Artificial Photosynthesis
Short history. The Consortium was started in 1993 by Mats Almgren and Sten-Erik Lindquist (Physical Chemistry, Uppsala University), Stenbjörn Styring (then at Biochemistry, Stockholm University and Björn Åkermark (Organic Chemistry, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm). From the start, Stenbjörn Styring has been chairman of the Consortium.
1996 Stenbjörn Styring was appointed Professor in Biochemistry at Lund University and the Consortium was lead from Lund until his recent move to Uppsala in 2004 (see below). In 1997, the parts of the project led by Mats Almgren and Sten-Erik Lindquist were taken over by Leif Hammarström, Professor in Chemical Physics at Uppsala University. In 1998, Björn Åkermark retired but continued to lead, together with Dr Licheng Sun, the synthesis group, which moved to Stockholm University. In 2004 Licheng Sun was appointed Professor at the Royal Institute for Technology in Stockholm and left the Consortium at this time.
In 1998 the Consortium was expanded with Villy Sundström's femtochemistry group at Chemical Physics at Lund University. In 2003, the Consortium was expanded again with Peter Lindblad´s molecular biology group in Plant Physiology from Uppsala University. Thereby, the Consortium moved into photobiological hydrogen production from cyanobacteria using molecular biology and genetic approaches.
2004 saw large and exiting changes for the Consortium. Stenbjörn Styring groups moved from Lund to Uppsala university and the synthesis group changed leadership and moved from Stockholm to Uppsala. The synthesis group is now led by three young investigators; Drs Magnus Anderlund, Olof Johansson and Sascha Ott.
Visiting scientists. The Consortium has, since the start, been visited by many researchers from many countries. We have hosted young students in Erasmus and Nordic Energy Research (and similar) student exchange programs, Ph D students and post doctors from many countries and many visitors on higher academic levels. A well-known symbol for the Consortium is the circle of flags that symbolize those who have been active in the Consortium. The international connections are vital for the research in the Consortium.
Concentration to Uppsala University. A new laboratory is being built.
Until summer 2004, the Consortium was spread over three universities (Lund, Stockholm, Uppsala) separated by over 600 km. Despite this physical and organisational separation we managed to keep the project continuously advancing. Many papers and many Ph D theses were finished. However, our science is complex, involving several divergent fields and the physical separation wass a barrier, which could never be entirely overcome! Therefore, the collaboration in the Consortium takes a big leap forward to create a new scientific environment in the same corridors at the same place, the Ångström laboratory at Uppsala University. Our science at the Max laboratory and the TW X-ray laser in Lund (Villy Sundström´s group) will remain there but all other groups will move to the new laboratory.
The idea and vision is to concentrate our groups and form a real, physical research center under the same roof, with strong interaction between disciplines ranging from molecular biology to chemical physics. We do this in contrast to "traditional" departments that are organized according to scientific disciplines. The reason is that we firmly believe that our new Center represents a type of construction that is necessary to address large and complex scientific issues.
In November 2003, the board of the Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala decided to build the new laboratory House 7 at Ångström laboratory (5000 squaremeters, see Figure). In this new house, the Consortium will be concentrated to 3 floors of almost 3000m2. The new purpose-built laboratory is especially designed for research intersecting many fields and breaking normal department boundaries.
The new house is growing and we will move in during summer 2006 (see Figure). It is designed to host exactly the type of interactive research between different types of scientists we describe in this Consortium application and will be a landmark event in our scientific field.
The new house is a wing of the larger Ångström laboratory (built 1996-2000 see Figure), which hosts physics, engineering sciences and many chemical sciences Länka här till Ångström laboratoriet. The Ångström laboratory contains many groups and departments devoted to energy- and materials science research that provide many opportunities to large synergisms with our own science. The time frame (Figure) shows that we will get access to our new laboratories in the summer 2006.
To celebrate the creation of the new Consortium Center, we are organizing several scientific meetings in Uppsala. In July 2006, we (Hammarström, Hagfeldt and Styring) organize the 16th International Conference on the Conversion and Storage of Solar energy (IPS-16), which is the most important conference for artificial photosynthesis and Grätzel cells. We are pleased that the new center will be inaugurated during this meeting. Later in the fall 2006 we also organize the Nordic Photosynthesis Conference, which assembles most of the photosynthesis researchers in the Nordic countries (ca 120 participants). The same fall, we (Hammarström and colleagues) will organize the bi-annual Nordic Femtochemistry workshop, which attracts c.a. 100 researchers from the Nordic and Baltic countries. We will also host activities in SOLAR-H during 2006.