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Proceedings Paper

Bio-inspired photo-electronic material based on photosynthetic proteins
Author(s): Nikolai Lebedev; Scott A. Trammell; Stanislav Tsoi; Anthony Spano; Jin Ho Kim; Jimmy Xu; Mark E. Twigg; Joel M. Schnur
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Paper Abstract

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.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 August 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7403, Nanobiosystems: Processing, Characterization, and Applications II, 740304 (21 August 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.829353
Show Author Affiliations
Nikolai Lebedev, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Scott A. Trammell, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Stanislav Tsoi, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Anthony Spano, Univ. of Virginia (United States)
Jin Ho Kim, Brown Univ. (United States)
Jimmy Xu, Brown Univ. (United States)
Mark E. Twigg, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Joel M. Schnur, George Mason Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7403:
Nanobiosystems: Processing, Characterization, and Applications II
Norihisa Kobayashi; Fahima Ouchen; Ileana Rau, Editor(s)

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