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Optical Shading Induces an In-Plane Potential Gradient in a Semiartificial Photosynthetic System Bringing Photoelectric Synergy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Sai Kishore Ravi
  • Yaoxin Zhang
  • Yanan Wang
  • Dilip Krishna Nandakumar
  • Wanxin Sun
  • Michael R. Jones
  • Swee Ching Tan
Original languageEnglish
Article number1901449
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number35
Early online date1 Aug 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 8 Jul 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 1 Aug 2019
DatePublished (current) - 19 Sep 2019


Semiartificial photosynthetic systems have opened up new avenues for harvesting solar energy using natural photosynthetic materials in combination with synthetic components. This work reports a new, semiartificial system for solar energy conversion that synergistically combines photoreactions in a purple bacterial photosynthetic membrane with those in three types of transition metal–semiconductor Schottky junctions. A transparent film of a common transition metal interfaced with an n-doped silicon semiconductor exhibits an in-plane potential gradient when a light-penetration variance is established on its surface by optical shading of photoabsorbing photosynthetic membranes. The in-plane potential gradients (0.08–0.3 V) enable a directional charge transport between the synthetic and natural photoelectric systems, which is further enhanced in a device setting by a biocompatible thixotropic gel electrolyte that permeates the membrane multilayer, facilitating a strong and steady photoelectric current as high as 1.3 mA cm−2, the highest achieved so far with any anoxygenic photosynthetic system.

    Research areas

  • asymmetric photoexcitation, bio-photovoltaic, in-plane electric field, semiartificial photosynthetic system, SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY

    Structured keywords

  • BrisSynBio
  • Bristol BioDesign Institute



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