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Free-floating Reaction Centers (RCs) versus Attached Monolayer of RCs in Bio-photoelectrochemical Cells

  • Houman Yaghoubi (a1), Arash Takshi (a1), Daniel Jun (a2), Rafael Saer (a2), John D. Madden (a3) and J. Thomas Beatty (a2)...

Abstract

The high quantum efficiency (~100%) in the bacterial photosynthetic reaction center (RC) has inspired research on the application of RCs to build protein based solar cells. Conventionally, applying RCs as the photosensitive layer on the surface of a carbon electrode has shown poor photocurrents in the cells. The low photocurrent is partly due to the weak absorption of light in the monolayer of RCs. Also, an Atomic Force Microscopy image of the electrode shows lots of defects on the immobilized RCs at the electrode surface. In this work, we have built a bio-photoelectrochemical cell in which the RCs are floating in the electrolyte instead of being attached to the surface of an electrode. Despite the simple structure of the cell, the photocurrent is significantly higher in the new cell compared to when RCs are attached to an electrode. The amplitude of current reached to ~40 nA for free floating RCs, about five times larger than that in the cell with attached RCs. The aging effect was studied in both cells in a course of a week. The lifetime of attached RCs on electrode surface was slightly better than solubilized RCs in the electrolyte. Also, it is found that the mechanism which governs the charge transfer from RCs to the electrodes is the same in both bio-photoelectrochemical cells.

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Keywords

Free-floating Reaction Centers (RCs) versus Attached Monolayer of RCs in Bio-photoelectrochemical Cells

  • Houman Yaghoubi (a1), Arash Takshi (a1), Daniel Jun (a2), Rafael Saer (a2), John D. Madden (a3) and J. Thomas Beatty (a2)...

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