Scientists from the University of Southampton, in collaboration with the Universities of Sheffield and Crete, have developed a new hybrid energy transfer system, which mimics the processes responsible for photosynthesis.
From photosynthesis to respiration, the processes of light absorption and its transfer into energy represent elementary and essential reactions that occur in any biological living system.
This energy transfer is known as Forster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET), a radiationless transmission of energy that occurs on the nanometer scale from a donor molecule to an acceptor molecule. The donor molecule is the dye or chromophore that initially absorbs the energy and the acceptor is the chromophore to which the energy is subsequently transferred without any molecular collision. However, FRET is a strongly distance dependent process which occurs over a scale of typically 1 to 10 nm.
In a new study, published in the journal Nature Materials, the researchers demonstrate an alternate non-radiative, intermolecular energy transfer that exploits the intermediating role of light confined in an optical cavity. The advantage of this new technique which exploits the formation of quantum states admixture of light and matter, is the length over which the interaction takes places, that is in fact, considerably longer than conventional FRET-type processes.
Co-author Dr Niccolo Somaschi, from the University of Southampton's Hybrid Photonics group (which is led by Professor Pavlos Lagoudakis, co-author of the paper), says: "The possibility to transfer energy over distances comparable to the wavelength of light has the potential to be of both fundamental and applied interest.
Our deep understanding of energy transfer elucidates the basic mechanisms behind the process of photosynthesis in biological systems and therefore gets us closer to the reproduction of fully synthetic systems which mimic biological functionalities.
At the fundamental level, the present work suggests that the coherent coupling of molecules may be directly involved in the energy transfer process which occurs in the photosynthesis.
"On the applied perspective instead, organic semiconductors continue to receive significant interest for application in optoelectronic devices, for example light-emitting or photovoltaic devices, in which performance is dependent on our ability to control the formation and transport of carriers in molecular systems."
The new device consists of an optical cavity made by two metallic mirrors which trap the photons in a confined environment where two different organic molecules reside in.
By engineering the spacing between the mirrors based on the optical properties of the organic materials, it is possible to create a new quantum state that is a combination of the trapped photons and the excited states in the molecules. The photon essentially "glues" together these quantum mechanical states, forming a new half-light half-matter particle, called polariton, which is responsible for the efficient transfer of energy from one material to the other.
Glenn Harris | Eurek Alert!
Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics
23.03.2017 | North Carolina State University
TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
21.03.2017 | Technische Universität Graz
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy