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Journal of Photonics for Energy

Bioinspired molecular electrets: bottom-up approach to energy materials and applications
Author(s): Jillian M. Larsen; Eli M. Espinoza; Valentine I. Vullev
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Paper Abstract

The diversity of life on Earth is made possible through an immense variety of proteins that stems from less than a couple of dozen native amino acids. Is it possible to achieve similar engineering freedom and precision to design electronic materials? What if a handful of non-native residues with a wide range of characteristics could be rationally placed in sequences to form organic macromolecules with specifically targeted properties and functionalities? Referred to as molecular electrets, dipolar oligomers and polymers composed of non-native aromatic beta-amino acids, anthranilamides (Aa) provide venues for pursuing such possibilities. The electret molecular dipoles play a crucial role in rectifying charge transfer, e.g., enhancing charge separation and suppressing undesired charge recombination, which is essential for photovoltaics, photocatalysis, and other solar-energy applications. A set of a few Aa residues can serve as building blocks for molecular electrets with widely diverse electronic properties, presenting venues for bottom-up designs. We demonstrate how three substituents and structural permutations within an Aa residue widely alter its reduction potential. Paradigms of diversity in electronic properties, originating from a few changes within a basic molecular structure, illustrate the promising potentials of biological inspiration for energy science and engineering.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 May 2015
PDF: 14 pages
J. Photon. Energy 5(1) 055598 doi: 10.1117/1.JPE.5.055598
Published in: Journal of Photonics for Energy Volume 5, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Jillian M. Larsen, Univ. of California, Riverside (United States)
Eli M. Espinoza, Univ. of California, Riverside (United States)
Valentine I. Vullev, Univ. of California, Riverside (United States)

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