Researchers from the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico have developed ways to manipulate the properties of platinum metal.
They have been mimicking photosynthetic proteins to manipulate the structure of platinum and control the size, porosity, composition, surface, solubility, stability and other properties of the metal. The technique used is similar to photosynthesis and changes a platinum ion to neutral metal atoms. Repeating this allows nanoscale deposits of metal to be laid down.
In order to deposit the platinum, porphyrins, the active part of photosynthetic proteins, are combined with platinum salt in an aqueous solution of ascorbic acid. The metal is deposited at the locations where the porphyrins are in the solution.