Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hybrid Lighting Device

24.10.2012
Bacterial photosynthetic reaction center harvests more light thanks to tailored organic antenna

Getting energy from sunlight: Plants have it down; humans have not quite got the knack for it. Hybrid systems made from natural and synthetic components could open new routes for harvesting solar energy.



Italian researchers have now introduced an approach to this type of system. As described in the journal Angewandte Chemie, they have combined the photochemical core of a bacterial photosynthetic system with an organic dye that acts as an “antenna”, significantly improving the capture of light.

In all organisms fuelled by photosynthesis, the functional organization of the photosynthetic apparatus is the same: pigment-protein complexes capture the light like a radio antenna catching radio waves and conduct it to a central photochemical core, the reaction center. Here the energy is converted to an electron-hole pair: a negatively charged electron is separated from its molecular core, leaving behind a positively charged “hole”.

This charge-separated state must be maintained long enough to be used. The organism uses this to drive its metabolism. In technological applications, charge separation may be used to drive a redox reaction like the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Nature has optimal control over these steps. Synthetic systems that efficiently capture light and use the energy to achieve charge separation have also been developed; however the lifetime of the charge separation is barely in the millisecond range. This is not enough to allow the energy to be drawn off efficiently. An interesting approach to solving this problem is to make hybrid systems that combine a tailored synthetic antenna with a natural “light converter”. Previously, synthetic antennas have been made from quantum dots, nanoscopic structures made of semiconductors.

Instead, researchers led by Gianluca M. Farinola and Massimo Trotta have elected to use a tailored organic dye molecule as their antenna. These have several advantages over inorganic structures: The molecular diversity of organic compounds allows for very fine tuning of the spectroscopic and electronic properties of the antenna. At the same time, the molecular form and flexibility can be controlled so that the antenna has practically no effect on the reaction center and its function, unlike quantum dots. An organic antenna can also be attached to nearly any desired location on the reaction center.

The Italian researchers combined their organic antenna with the extensively researched reaction center of the purple bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides R-26. They demonstrated that the antenna does not disrupt the function of the natural light converted; instead it improves its activity in a range of wavelengths not efficiently absorbed by the purely biological system.

About the Author
Dr Massimo Trotta is a Resercher at Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Italian National Research Council. He has been working on bacterial photosynthesis and its application in energy conversion and in environmental related issues for over 20 years. He has been chair of the COST Action Molecular machinery for ion translocation across the membrane.

Author: Massimo Trotta, Istituto per i Processi Chimico Fisici Nazionale delle Ricerche, Bari (Italy), mailto:m.trotta@ba.ipcf.cnr.it
Title: Enhancing the Light Harvesting Capability of a Photosynthetic Reaction Center by a Tailored Molecular Fluorophore

Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2012, 51, No. 44, 11019–11023, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201203404

Dr Massimo Trotta | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh

nachricht Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>