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 Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>