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Issue 9, 2015
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Progress and perspectives in exploiting photosynthetic biomolecules for solar energy harnessing

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Abstract

Photosynthetic proteins are emerging as a new class of photovoltaic materials as their nature-designed architecture and internal circuitry are so sophisticated that they carry out the initial light-driven steps of photosynthesis with ≈100% quantum efficiency. Research on bioinspired solar cells has increased in recent years as they promise better efficiency than the conventional p–n junction solar cells that have limited conversion efficiency (34%). Since it is a mammoth task to perfectly mimic the intricate proteins evolved in nature, the idea of interfacing the natural proteins with engineered materials seems to be propitious for developing biohybrid solar cells. Herein, we summarize various approaches in immobilizing the photosynthetic biomolecules in photovoltaic devices and the progress in the photocurrent generation achieved. This review highlights the multidisciplinary nature of photosynthetic biohybrid devices and their future prospects in light of some of the research challenges and discrepancies witnessed by this field. The fascinating aspect of this research area is that it guides the biologists to explore the possibilities of improving protein stability and robustness suitable for solar cells and inspires the solar cell researchers to explore the physics behind the working mechanisms of biohybrid solar cells which can generate novel architectures in future solar energy conversion devices.

Graphical abstract: Progress and perspectives in exploiting photosynthetic biomolecules for solar energy harnessing

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Publication details

The article was received on 01 May 2015, accepted on 08 Jun 2015 and first published on 08 Jun 2015


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C5EE01361E
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2015,8, 2551-2573
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Progress and perspectives in exploiting photosynthetic biomolecules for solar energy harnessing

    S. K. Ravi and S. C. Tan, Energy Environ. Sci., 2015, 8, 2551
    DOI: 10.1039/C5EE01361E

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