20 August 2009 Bio-inspired photo-electronic material based on photosynthetic proteins
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The construction of efficient light energy converting (photovoltaic and photo-electronic) devices is a current and great challenge in science and technology and one that will have important economic consequences. Several innovative nanoelectronic materials were proposed to achieve this goal, semiconductor quantum dots, metallic nanowires and carbon nanotubes (CNT) are among them. As a charge separating unit for light energy conversion, we propose the utilization of the most advanced photoelectronic material developed by nature, photosynthetic reaction center proteins. As a first step in this direction, we constructed a novel bioinorganic nanophotoelectronic material with photoactive photosynthetic reaction center (RC) proteins encapsulated inside a multiwall CNT arrayed electrode. The material consists of photosynthetic RC-cytochrome complexes acting as charge separating units bound to the inner walls of a CNT electrode and ubiquinone-10 (Q2) serving as a soluble electron-transfer mediator to the counter electrode. The proteins were immobilized inside carbon nanotubes by a Ni(NTA)-alkane-pyrene linker, forming a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) on the surface of inner CNT walls and allowing for unidirectional protein orientation. The material demonstrates an enhanced photoinduced electron transfer rate and shows substantial improvement in photocurrent density compared to that obtained with the same proteins when immobilized on planar graphite (HOPG) electrode. The results suggest that protein encapsulation in precisely organized arrayed tubular electrode architecture can considerably improve the performance of photovoltaic, photoelectronic, or biofuel cell devices. They demonstrate the potential for substantial advantages of precisely organized nano electrode tubular arrayed architecture for variety biotechnological applications.
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Nikolai Lebedev, Scott A. Trammell, Stanislav Tsoi, Anthony Spano, Jin Ho Kim, Jimmy Xu, Mark E. Twigg, Joel M. Schnur, "Bio-inspired photo-electronic material based on photosynthetic proteins", Proc. SPIE 7403, Nanobiosystems: Processing, Characterization, and Applications II, 740304 (20 August 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.829353; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.829353

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