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High-Performance UV Enhancer Molecules Coupled with Photosynthetic Proteins for Ultra-Low-Intensity UV Detection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Lakshmi Suresh
  • Jayraj Vaghasiya
  • Dilip Krishna Nandakumar
  • Tingfeng Wu
  • Mike Jones
  • Swee Ching Tan
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1847-1860
Number of pages14
Issue number7
Early online date16 May 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 18 Apr 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 16 May 2019
DatePublished (current) - 11 Jul 2019


Dual attributes of UV-photo-responsive organic-ionic conductors are exploited in bio-photoelectrochemical cells based on photosynthetic RC-LH1 proteins from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. These UV enhancer molecules (UVEM) can generate small photocurrents in the absence of protein and are also effective electrolytes for photocurrent generation by RC-LH1 complexes in response to near-infrared excitation. Mixing RC-LH1 and UVEM components strongly enhanced UV photocurrents relative to those obtained with protein or UVEM alone, an effect that is attributed to energy transfer from the hetero-anthracene chromophore of the UVEM to the carotenoids of the RC-LH1 complex. RC-LH1/UVEM bio-photoelectrochemical cells were superior to conventional RC-LH1 cells in terms of UV external quantum efficiency, photo-response sensitivity, and photocurrent rise-decay times. These bio-photodetectors could detect weak UV radiation with intensities as low as 2 μW/cm2. This combination of photosynthetic proteins with dual-function electrolytes is the first attempt to construct fully functional bio-photoelectrochemical UV photodetector based on natural components.

    Research areas

  • bio-photoelectrochemical cell, FRET, organic ionic conductors, organic UV enhancer molecule, photosynthetic proteins, SDG7: Affordable and clean energy, ultra-low intensity UV detection, UV detector, Synthetic biology

    Structured keywords

  • BrisSynBio
  • Bristol BioDesign Institute



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    Embargo ends: 16/05/20

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    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND


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