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Tom Moore

Tom Moore

Professor, School of Molecular Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


School of Molecular Sciences
Arizona State University
PO Box 871604
Tempe, AZ 85287-1604


  • Distinguished Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
  • Professor, School of Molecular Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Affiliated Faculty, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability


Thomas Moore's research interests focus on the design and assembly of bio-inspired constructs for solar energy conversion, catalysis and signal transduction. The incorporation of artificial antennas and reaction centers into model biological membranes to make solar energized membranes is one of the first steps towards assembling nanoscale devices capable of carrying out human-directed work. It is the sense of the research group that Moore is involved in, that the promise and excitement in nanoscale science and technology are predicated on paradigms taken from biology for molecular-scale motors, pumps, signal amplifiers, etc. These devices from biology are powered by proton motive force (pmf) or the thermodynamic equivalent of pmf, ATP. On the other hand, most of the devices they have come to appreciate (and expect) from the human-made world are powered by electromotive force. The membrane potential associated with energized membranes is the common denominator between the energy transducers of biology and their counterparts in the human-made world. Broadly, their research aims to explore this connection and use it to establish links between the systems and thereby determine ways to couple electronic circuits and devices to nanoscale signals and energy transducers.

This idea can be elaborated in the field of signal processing/molecular sensors by imagining the design of hybrid devices which link silicon-based elements in an electrical circuit with biological receptors in which molecular recognition provides exquisite specificity at near single molecule sensitivity. In such a device, biological amplifiers (e.g., a G-protein cascade) powered by pmf would provide initial amplification of the signal resulting from the binding of a target ligand by a membrane-linked receptor. The amplified output signal would then be coupled to more conventional circuits for measurement and analysis. In other words, the information/signal at the biological level (ligand recognition and binding) would be amplified using biological amplifiers, the output of which is then translated into an electrical signal for conventional electronic processing.

Photosynthetic organisms provide myriad examples of catalysis including several essential redox ones that operate with essentially no over potential. These include the most efficient 4-electron catalyst known for the oxidation of water to yield oxygen and protons. In combination with the biological catalyst for oxygen reduction, found in photosynthetic and all oxygenic organisms, and enzymes for hydrogen production by proton reduction, nature has provided the basic paradigms for fuel cell operation. It is a major goal of the group's work in artificial photosynthesis to link redox- and pmf-generating constructs to these catalysts in order to enhance their understanding of energy flow in biological systems and to provide energy transduction to meet human needs.


  • PhD, Texas Tech, 1975


External Links

Journal Articles


Ravensbergen, J., C. L. Brown, G. F. Moore, R. N. Frese, R. van Grondelle, D. Gust, T. A. Moore, A. L. Moore and J. T. Kennis. 2015. Kinetic isotope effect of proton-coupled electron transfer in a hydrogen bonded phenol-pyrrolidino[60]fullerene. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences 14:2147-2150. DOI: 10.1039/C5PP00259A. (link )


Faunce, T., W. Lubitz, A. W. Rutherford, D. MacFarlane, G. F. Moore, P. Yang, D. G. Nocera, T. A. Moore, D. H. Gregory, S. Fukuzumi, K. B. Yoon, F. A. Armstrong, M. R. Wasielewski and S. Styring. 2013. Energy and environmental policy case for a global project on artificial photosynthesis. Energy & Environmental Science 6(3):695-698. DOI: 10.1039/C3EE00063J. (link )


Moore, G. F., J. D. Megiatto Jr., M. Hambourger, M. Gervaldo, G. Kodis, T. A. Moore and A. L. Moore. 2012. Optical and electrochemical properties of hydrogen-bonded phenol-pyrrolidinol[60]fullerenes. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences 11:1018-1025. DOI: 10.1039/C2PP05351A. (link )


Moore, G. F., M. Hambourger, G. Kodis, W. Michl, D. Gust, T. A. Moore and A. L. Moore. 2010. Effects of protonation state on a tyrosine-hstidine bioinspired redox mediator. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 114(45):14450-14457. DOI: 10.1021/jp101592m. (link )


Hambourger, M., G. Kodis, M. D. Vaughn, G. F. Moore, D. Gust, A. L. Moore and T. A. Moore. 2009. Solar energy conversion in a photoelectrochemical biofuel cell. Dalton Transactions 45:9937-10124. DOI: 10.1039/B912170F. (link )

Hambourger, M., G. F. Moore, D. M. Kramer, D. Gust, A. L. Moore and T. A. Moore. 2009. Biology and technology for photochemical fuel production. Chemistry Society Reviews 38:25-35. DOI: 10.1039/B800582F. (link )


Moore, G. F., M. Hambourger, M. Gervaldo, O. G. Poluektov, T. Rajh, D. Gust, T. A. Moore and A. L. Moore. 2008. Journal of the American Chemical Society. Journal of the American Chemical Society 130(32):10466-10467. DOI: 10.1021/ja803015m. (link )

Rizzi, A. C., M. van Gastel, P. A. Liddell, R. E. Palacios, G. F. Moore, G. Kodis, A. L. Moore, T. A. Moore, D. Gust and S. E. Braslavsky. 2008. Entropic changes control the charge separation process in triads mimicking photosynthetic charge separation. The Journal of Physical Chemistry A 112(18):4215-4223. DOI: 10.1021/jp712008b. (link )


Berera, R., G. F. Moore, I. H. van Stokkum, G. Kodis, P. A. Liddell, M. Gervaldo, R. van Grondelle, J. T. Kennis, D. Gust, T. A. Moore and A. L. Moore. 2006. Charge separation and energy transfer in a caroteno–C60 dyad: photoinduced electron transfer from the carotenoid excited states. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences 5:1142-1149. DOI: 10.1039/B613971J. (link )