Superhydrophobic Carbon Nanotube Electrode Produces a Near-Symmetrical Alternating Current from Photosynthetic Protein-Based Photoelectrochemical Cells

Swee Ching Tan*, Feng Yan, Lucy I. Crouch, John Robertson, Michael R. Jones, Mark E. Welland

*Corresponding author for this work

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

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The construction of protein-based photoelectrochemical cells that produce a variety of alternating currents in response to discontinuous illumination is reported. The photovoltaic component is a protein complex from the purple photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides which catalyses photochemical charge separation with a high quantum yield. Photoelectrochemical cells formed from this protein, a mobile redox mediator and a counter electrode formed from cobalt disilicide, titanium nitride, platinum, or multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) generate a direct current during continuous illumination and an alternating current with different characteristics during discontinuous illumination. In particular, the use of superhydrophobic MWCNT as the back electrode results in a near symmetrical forward and reverse current upon light on and light off, respectively. The symmetry of the AC output of these cells is correlated with the wettability of the counter electrode. Potential applications of a hybrid biological/synthetic solar cell capable of generating an approximately symmetrical alternating current are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5556-5563
Number of pages8
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Volume23
Issue number44
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2013

Keywords

  • photovoltaics
  • counter electrode
  • superhydrophobic
  • reaction center
  • alternating current
  • REACTION CENTERS
  • RHODOPSEUDOMONAS-PALUSTRIS
  • RHODOBACTER-SPHAEROIDES
  • PHOTOCURRENT GENERATION
  • ENERGY-CONVERSION
  • GOLD ELECTRODE
  • CORE COMPLEXES
  • WORK FUNCTION
  • FILMS
  • MONOLAYERS

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