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A novel cell-scale bio-nanogenerator based on electron-ion interaction for fast light power conversion


Natural energy haversting devices serve as an alternative candidate for power supply in many micro-/nano-systems. However, traditional nanogenerators based on piezoelectricity or triboelectric power generation face the challenge in biocompatibility and stability in various biological systems. The bacteriorhodopsin (bR) protein in Halobacterium halobium is an ideal biocompatible material for photoelectric conversion. Conventional bR systems based on ion transportation or enhanced light absorption layer have limited light power conversion speed. Novel design of bR-based biohybrid devices have a great potential for sensitive light power compared with conventional nanogenerators. Herein, we, for the first time, present a biohybrid nanogenerator made of bR and horizontally aligned-long carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with electron-ion interaction for sensitive light power conversion. The bR layer serves as the proton pump while CNTs are utilized to enhance the photocurrent, thus the photocurrent frequency response improves a lot by the effect of electron-ion interaction. The photocurrent shows a linear relationship with the intensity of light and can still obtain stable signal at light intensity of 0.03 mW/cm2. As for the influence of light on-off period, the photocurrent initially increases then decreases with increasing flickering frequency up to 360 Hz, which could be ascribed to the combinational influence of light switch speed and photocycle decay time. The photocurrent shows the highest value (99 nA/cm2) at a frequency of about 50 Hz at light intensity of 0.43 mW/cm2, which matches well with the frequency standard of electrical power supply system. Besides, we found that a higher density of CNTs contributed to improve performance of the nanogenerators. Furthermore, a H+ ions releasing model was proposed to interpret the operating mechanism of the biohybrid nanogenerator. The biohybrid nanogenerator shows great potential for applications as the power supply for bio-nanosystems.

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Oct 2017, accepted on 27 Nov 2017 and first published on 28 Nov 2017

Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR07671A
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    A novel cell-scale bio-nanogenerator based on electron-ion interaction for fast light power conversion

    Y. Li, H. Tian, H. Zhao, M. Jian, Y. Lv, Y. Tian, Q. Wang, Y. Yang, Y. Xiang, Y. Zhang and T. Ren, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR07671A

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