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:4/18/2017)...  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing ... M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing ... Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo ... Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... management and secure authentication solutions, today announced that ... by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to ... IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation has been ... and IARPA,s Thor program will allow us to ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... LONDON , April 6, 2017 ... Control, RFID, ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & ... Energy Facility, Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear ... Healthcare, Educational, Other) Are you looking for ... Authentication sector? ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2017 , ... ... research organization (CRO) has validated a 0.2 ng/mL lower limit (LLOQ) assay for ... a 0.5 ng/mL LLOQ assay, the ultra-low trace nicotine assay meets additional needs ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... Mitotech S.A, a Luxembourg ... Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) patients. LHON is a rare devastating genetic disease that leads ... eye drops in a group of 20 patients carrying 11778, 14484 and 3460 mutations ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... flow controllers based on capillary thermal mass flow technology provide exponentially more accurate ... applications. Over 80% of all industrial processes—such as those involving chemical reactions, ...
(Date:4/27/2017)...  Pendant Biosciences, Inc. (formerly Nanoferix, Inc.), a privately-held ... delivery technologies, today announced that it has been accepted ... Toronto . Shawn Glinter , ... "We are excited to become part of the JLABS ... honored to be the first Tennessee ...
Breaking Biology Technology: