Navigation Links
Purple sunlight eaters
Date:7/19/2013

ARGONNE, Ill. A protein found in the membranes of ancient microorganisms that live in desert salt flats could offer a new way of using sunlight to generate environmentally friendly hydrogen fuel, according to a new study by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory.

Argonne nanoscientist Elena Rozhkova and her colleagues combined a pigment called bacteriorhodopsin with semiconducting nanoparticles to create a system that uses light to spark a catalytic process that creates hydrogen fuel.

Scientists have been aware of the potential of titanium dioxide nanoparticles for light-based reactions since the early 1970s, when Japanese researchers discovered that a titanium dioxide electrode exposed to bright ultraviolet light could split water molecules in a phenomenon that came to be known as the Honda-Fujishima effect. Since then, scientists have made continuous efforts to extend the light reactivity of titanium dioxide photocatalysts into the visible part of the spectrum. The promise of these photocatalysts prompted scientists to experiment with different modifications to their basic chemistry in hope of making the reaction more efficient, Rozhkova said.

"Titanium dioxide alone reacts with ultraviolet light, but not with visible light, so we used biological photoreactive molecules as a building block to create a hybrid system that could use visible light efficiently," Rozhkova said.

Rozhkova and her colleagues turned to bacteriorhodopsin which is responsible for the unusual purple color of a number of salt flats in California and Nevada because it uses sunlight as an energy source that allows it to act as a "proton pump." Proton pumps are proteins that typically straddle a cellular membrane and transfer protons from inside the cell to the extracellular space.

In the Argonne system, the protons provided by the bacteriorhodopsin are combined with free electrons at small platinum sites interspersed in the titanium dioxide matrix. "The platinum nanoparticles are essential for creating a distinct spot for the production of the hydrogen molecule," said Peng Wang, an Argonne postdoctoral researcher in Rozhkova's group at Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials.

"It is interesting that in biology, bacteriorhodopsin does not naturally participate in these kind of reactions," Rozhkova said. "Its natural function really doesn't have much to do at all with creating hydrogen. But as part of this hybrid, it helps make hydrogen under white light and at environmentally friendly conditions."

This bio-assisted hybrid photocatalyst outperforms many other similar systems in hydrogen generation and could be a good candidate for fabrication of green energy devices that consume virtually infinite sources salt water and sunlight.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jared Sagoff
jsagoff@anl.gov
630-252-5549
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Purple corn compound may aid in developing future treatments for Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease
2. How the purple and pink sunscreens of reef corals work
3. High-nutrition and disease-resistant purple and yellow-fleshed potato clones obtained
4. Eddies, not sunlight, spur annual bloom of tiny plants in North Atlantic
5. Cleaning with sunlight
6. Engineered bacteria make fuel from sunlight
7. Painting with catalysts: Nano-engineered materials for detoxifying water by use of sunlight
8. Researchers say sunlight yields more efficient carbon dioxide to methanol model
9. Commonly used pesticide turns honey bees into picky eaters
10. Eat your vegetables! New book redefines how to raise healthy eaters
11. Cooperators can coexist with cheaters, as long as there is room to grow
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2017)... 2, 2017   TapImmune, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... specializing in the development of innovative peptide and ... cancer and metastatic disease, announced today it has ... of a second clinical lot of TPIV 200, ... alpha. The manufactured vaccine product will be used ...
(Date:2/1/2017)... IDTechEx Research, a leading provider of independent market research, ... a new report, Sensors for Robotics: Technologies, Markets and Forecasts ... ... Revenues ... "Sensors for Robotics: Technologies, Markets and Forecasts 2017-2027: Machine vision, force ...
(Date:1/26/2017)... 26, 2017  Crossmatch, a leading provider of security ... aimed at combatting fraud, waste and abuse in assistance ... the Action on Disaster Relief conference in ... UN agencies and foreign assistance organizations throughout ... abuse are a largely unacknowledged problem in the foreign ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/19/2017)... ... February 19, 2017 , ... Expanding Portfolio to Include Lab ... equipment with the goal of expanding the reach of its quality and precision ... water analysis meters were introduced into the market in 2014. , The OHAUS ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... IL (PRWEB) , ... February 17, 2017 , ... ... Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) and the Center for International Blood & Marrow ... Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. , The combined scientific sessions offer ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... , Feb 17, 2017 Research and Markets ... Business Report" report to their offering. ... The report provides separate comprehensive analytics ... , and Rest of World. Annual estimates and forecasts are ... analysis is provided for these markets. Market data and analytics are ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... FREMONT, Calif. , Feb. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... pleased to announce development of a novel system ... in collaboration with the University of Rochester (NY, ... ). The new system is able to ... cancer biomarker, HER2 (Human epidermal growth factor receptor-2) ...
Breaking Biology Technology: