So I was thinking about something to do for a science fair and photosynthesis sounded like a good idea. I was wondering what the exact process of photosynthesis was on a chemical level. I know the formula, but how exactly is water and carbon dioxide converted into glucose and oxygen? And where does sunlight come in, not in the equation but the chemical process. Finally, any ideas for artificial photosynthesis?
I am assuming you are in grade school. The problem is, as was mentioned before, that photosynthesis is very complicated. The formula you know of is extremely simplistic and skips over 100 reactions on the way. you can find plenty of information in Wikipedia, or if that is too much you can use the Simple Wikipedia.
In high school we took some kind of water plant or algae and put it in an upside down test tube filled with water, as oxygen was formed it filled the end of the test tube. This is a fairly simple way to monitor photosynthesis and you can use it to study photosynthesis. for example: how does the temperature effect photosynthesis, how does the color of light affect it etc.
This paper provides a very good overview of the state of knowledge about the mechanism of water oxidation (which is pretty much the heart of artificial photosynthesis). So if you want to understand the process of oxygen formation from water on a molecular level this is a very good and fairly recent review of the field, which treats the heterogeneous, homogeneous and biological catalytic pathways proposed in the literature. It is solely concerned with oxygen formation and doesn't say anything about the formation of glucose from carbon dioxide - for details on that process you should look into a biology textbook. Furthermore, I want to add that the mechanistic details are still very much a matter of debate.