Navigation Links
Copying mother nature's designs
Date:12/10/2009

RIVERSIDE, Calif. David Bocian of the University of California, Riverside will receive more than $1 million over five years as a co-investigator in the Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center (PARC), to be headquartered at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. The center seeks to better understand natural photosynthetic systems and design more durable human-made compounds for capturing light.

"Research on solar cells during the past 15 years has failed to appreciably increase cell efficiency," said Bocian, a professor of biophysical and materials chemistry, who researches energy conversion systems using a range of analytical techniques. Bocian cites lack of funding for basic research as the reason why today's solar cells have only 6-11 percent energy efficiency.

But there is hope in Congress's recent approval of funding for PARC and 45 similar Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) through the Department of Energy.

"The precedent in this case is the number of centers funded," Bocian said. "Normally the National Science Foundation calls for proposals and eventually funds three or four centers."

The $277 million allocated for the 46 EFRCs is significant, especially in that it requires no "deliverables" (functioning products) but rather seeks to address basic science questions.

Shiny silicon-wafer cells are extremely brittle, but Bocian explained that the new solar cells would be flexible, and could be integrated with textiles, allowing clothes to act as a walking power source for cell phones and computers.

He hopes to aid the development of what he calls "bio-inspired" antenna systems, which will collect and focus light to power solar cells.

These systems are bio-inspired because they are based on the dynamics of natural proteins. Nature "engineers" rings of light-harvesting complexes, each hosting a certain number of chlorophylls (photosynthetic light-absorbing pigments). Organisms simultaneously absorb light from different wavelength regions, significantly increasing their energy efficiency.

Bocian and his lab (funds will support at least one student and a post-doc each year for the next five years) use resonance Raman spectroscopy and other techniques to study chromophores, light-absorbing molecules. Resonance Raman spectroscopy, Bocian explained, allows his lab to study the vibrational resonance of individual molecules of interest.

Bocian noted that one advantage of the new cells is that they are more amenable to applications where today's solar cells cannot be used.

"Moreover, the main problem with today's solar cells is that they are not cost effective," he said, "and that's what we're hoping to change with this project."


'/>"/>

Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists are first to observe the global motions of an enzyme copying DNA
2. A year after discovery, Congos mother lode of gorillas remains vulnerable
3. Playing sport up to the end of pregnancy is healthy for the baby and the mother
4. Faithful mothers have healthier babies
5. Duke develops nano-scale drug delivery for chemotherapy
6. Female choice benefits mothers more than offspring
7. Checkered history of mother and daughter cells explains cell cycle differences
8. Natural compounds, chemotherapeutic drugs may become partners in cancer therapy
9. Mothers immune system may block fetal treatments for blood diseases
10. Common chemotherapy drug triggers fatal allergic reactions
11. New book suggests Earth perhaps not such a benevolent mother after all
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Copying mother nature's designs
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017 The research team ... for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint ... new realm of speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime ... affordable cost. ... A ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... , March 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services ... Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage ... Model sm . In addition, CHS previously earned ... hospitals using an electronic medical record (EMR). ... high level of EMR usage in an outpatient ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Mar. 23, 2017 Research and Markets has ... Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to ... ... a CAGR of around 8.8% over the next decade to reach ... analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... ... Bacterial biofilms, surface adherent communities of bacteria that are encased in a ... and catheter infections to gum disease and the rejection of medical implants. Though ... year, there is currently a paucity of means for preventing their formation or treating ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... it is exhibiting in booth B2 at the Association for Pathology Informatics ... , In addition to demonstrating its Cancer Diagnostic Cockpit and Consultation Portal, ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 18, 2017 , ... Dr. ... 2017 at the Prince Of Wales Private Hospital. The procedure was performed on ... The patient failed conservative treatments prior to undergoing surgery. , The AxioMed viscoelastic ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... Massachusetts (PRWEB) , ... May 17, 2017 , ... ... company specializing in medical device compliance and commercialization, has just released version 9.0 ... of work into this latest version of Cockpit,” says David Cronin, CEO of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: