Proton Transfer (PT) vs. Electron Transfer (ET)

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Proton Transfer (PT) vs. Electron Transfer (ET)

  • The obvious and critical distinction between electron and proton transfer is the almost 2000-fold difference in the mass of the particle.

  • The tiny mass of the electron allows transfer by quantum mechanical tunneling to proceed with modest driving forces at a biologically meaningful rate over distances of up to 15 Å, and non-physiologically beyond 25 Å. At these and even much shorter distances, the donor-acceptor interaction is very weak and the electron transfer is clearly in the non-adiabatic regime.

PT is controlled by the dynamics of the system

The Grotthuss Mechanism and Hydrogen-bonded Chains

The Grotthuss mechanism in a hydrogen-bonded chain, showing the distinct “hop” and “turn” phases.

The Grotthuss mechanism in water

Grotthus mechanism

“Normal” Acids and Bases. Brönsted-plot


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