Multifaceted aspects of charge transfer
Charge transfer and charge transport are by far among the most important processes for sustaining life on Earth and for making our modern ways of living possible. Involving multiple electron-transfer steps, photosynthesis and cellular respiration have been principally responsible for managing the energy flow in the biosphere of our planet since the Great Oxygen Event. It is impossible to imagine living organisms without charge transport mediated by ion channels, or electron and proton transfer mediated by redox enzymes. Concurrently, transfer and transport of electrons and holes drive the functionalities of electronic and photonic devices that are intricate for our lives. While fueling advances in engineering, charge-transfer science has established itself as an important independent field, originating from physical chemistry and chemical physics, focusing on paradigms from biology, and gaining momentum from solar-energy research. Here, we review the fundamental concepts of charge transfer, and outline its core role in a broad range of unrelated fields, such as medicine, environmental science, catalysis, electronics and photonics. The ubiquitous nature of dipoles, for example, sets demands on deepening the understanding of how localized electric fields affect charge transfer. Charge-transfer electrets, thus, prove important for advancing the field and for interfacing fundamental science with engineering. Synergy between the vastly different aspects of charge-transfer science sets the stage for the broad global impacts that the advances in this field have.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2020 PCCP HOT Articles