The Molecular Basis of Photosynthesis

About this tool

  • This tool is an online tutorial designed to demonstrate the key molecules involved in the process of photosynthesis, and help you to understand the key events in photosynthesis at the molecular level.
  • It has been created using Open-source software tools including Jmol (a 3D molecular viewer), PDB files from the Protein Data Bank, and an eLearning authoring tool called eXe.
  • The embedded 3D molecules can be rotated and zoomed using your mouse. Further manipulation can be undertaken by right-clicking on the viewer to access the Jmol menu.
  • You can navigate the tool using the menu at the left, or use the arrows in the bottom right corner to move to the previous or next page.
  • This tutorial will work best if you read through and press buttons in the order they appear in the text. If a molecule fails to load or the buttons are clicked out of order, go back to the previous page, return to the current page and try again.


  • If prompted, allow your browser to view blocked content.
  • If your are unable to view any 3D molecules, check that Java is enabled in your browser, and that you are running the latest version of Java.
  • Some of the scripts are very large and may take several seconds to load once selected.
  • If the tutorial has been working but a particular molecule fails to load, go back to the previous page, return to the current page and try again.


Picture credit: Debivort, Wikimedia Commons

This tool was created by Katy Jordan, Department of Plant Sciences/CARET, University of Cambridge, and is presented with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.