May 26, 2009

Artificial photosynthesis gets more sun

Build a molecule that mimics the light-absorbing mechanisms of plants and you can harvest energy from much of the solar spectrum.

The artificial photosynthetic molecule ties four antenna molecules to a carbon buckyball. The antenna molecules capture light across a broad range of wavelengths: from ultraviolet to red. The absorbed light generates electrons that move rapidly from the antenna molecules to the buckyball.

The electrons can be harvested to produce electricity or used to drive chemical reactions that produce hydrogen or hydrocarbon fuels.

Research paper:
Multiantenna Artificial Photosynthetic Reaction Center Complex
Journal of Physical Chemistry B, May 21, 2009

Researchers' contact:
Devens Gust

Related stories and briefs:
Microbe makes most of light -- related research
Photosynthesis drives solar fuel cell -- related research
Algae proteins boost solar concentrators -- related research

Back to ERN June 1, 2009



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