The photosensitive protein bacteriorhodopsin (bR) has been shown to be a promising material for optoelectronic and photovoltaic applications, but it cannot effectively absorb and utilize light energy in the near-infrared (NIR) region of the optical spectrum. Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have two-photon absorption cross-sections two orders of magnitude larger than those of bR and can effectively transfer the up-converted energy of two NIR photons to bR via the Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). In this study we fabricated a hybrid material in the form of an aqueous solution of electrostatically bound complexes of QDs and purple membranes (PMs) containing bR. Efficient FRET from QDs to bR was observed in these complexes under selective two-photon excitation of QDs. Then, we fabricated a photoelectrochemical cell operating in the NIR spectral region. Measurement of the photoelectrical signals from the cell containing pure PMs, or QD–PM hybrid material has shown that the light conversion in the QD-PM hybrid material with 3:1 bR-to-QD molar ratio is more efficient than in the material with 20:1 bR-to-QD molar ratio. The results of this study may extend the use of bioinspired hybrid materials in optoelectronics, holography, and bioenergetics under the conditions of nonlinear excitation.
V. A. Krivenkov, P. S. Samokhvalov, and I. Nabiev, "Two-photon-activated light energy conversion in quantum dot–purple membrane hybrid material," Proc. SPIE 11026, Nonlinear Optics and Applications XI, 110260E (Presented at SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics: April 01, 2019; Published: 30 April 2019); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2520856.
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