High-Efficiency Excitation Energy Transfer in Biohybrid Quantum Dot–Bacterial Reaction Center Nanoconjugates

Giordano Amoruso, Juntai Liu, Daniel W Polak, Kavita Tiwari, Michael R Jones *, Thomas A A Oliver*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Reaction centers (RCs) are the pivotal component of natural photosystems, converting solar energy into the potential difference between separated electrons and holes that is used to power much of biology. RCs from anoxygenic purple photosynthetic bacteria such as Rhodobacter sphaeroides only weakly absorb much of the visible region of the solar spectrum which limits their overall light-harvesting capacity. For in vitro applications such as bio-hybrid photodevices this deficiency can be addressed by effectively coupling RCs with synthetic light-harvesting materials. Here, we studied the time scale and efficiency of Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) in a nanoconjugate assembled from a synthetic quantum dot (QD) antenna and a tailored RC engineered to be fluorescent. Time-correlated single photon counting spectroscopy of biohybrid conjugates enabled the direct determination of FRET from QDs to attached RCs on a time scale of 26.6 ± 0.1 ns and with a high efficiency of 0.75 ± 0.01.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5448−5455
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number23
Early online date3 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
T.A.A.O. acknowledges financial support from the Royal Society for a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (UF1402310 and URF\R\201007) and a Research Fellows Enhancement Award (RGF\EA\180076). M.R.J., K.T., and J.L. acknowledge funding from the EPSRC/BBSRC Synthetic Biology Centre for Doctoral Training (EP/L016494/1) and from the BrisSynBio Synthetic Biology Research Centre at the University of Bristol (BB/L01386X/1). G.A. acknowledges EPSRC for a DTP Ph.D. studentship (EP/N509619/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society.

Structured keywords

  • BrisSynBio
  • Bristol BioDesign Institute


  • Bacterial reaction centers
  • quantum dots
  • biohybrids
  • resonance-energy transfer
  • time-resolved spectroscopy
  • enhanced solar harvesting


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