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Increasing the open-circuit voltage of photoprotein-based photoelectrochemical cells by manipulation of the vacuum potential of the electrolytes

Increasing the open-circuit voltage of photoprotein-based photoelectrochemical cells by manipulation of the vacuum potential of the electrolytes
Increasing the open-circuit voltage of photoprotein-based photoelectrochemical cells by manipulation of the vacuum potential of the electrolytes
The innately highly efficient light-powered separation of charge that underpins natural photosynthesis can be exploited for applications in photoelectrochemistry by coupling nanoscale protein photoreaction centers to man-made electrodes. Planar photoelectrochemical cells employing purple bacterial reaction centers have been constructed that produce a direct current under continuous illumination and an alternating current in response to discontinuous illumination. The present work explored the basis of the open-circuit voltage (VOC) produced by such cells with reaction center/antenna (RC-LH1) proteins as the photovoltaic component. It was established that an up to 30-fold increase in VOC could be achieved by simple manipulation of the electrolyte connecting the protein to the counter electrode, with an approximately linear relationship being observed between the vacuum potential of the electrolyte and the resulting VOC. We conclude that the VOC of such a cell is dependent on the potential difference between the electrolyte and the photo-oxidized bacteriochlorophylls in the reaction center. The steady-state short-circuit current (JSC) obtained under continuous illumination also varied with different electrolytes by a factor of 6-fold. The findings demonstrate a simple way to boost the voltage output of such protein-based cells into the hundreds of millivolts range typical of dye-sensitized and polymer-blend solar cells, while maintaining or improving the JSC. Possible strategies for further increasing the VOC of such protein-based photoelectrochemical cells through protein engineering are discussed
photovoltaic, photoelectrochemical cell, enhanced photovoltage, reaction center, electrolyte
1936-0851
9103-9109
Tan, Swee Ching
af5c7bdf-742b-44ef-b33a-3958d8b9de50
Crouch, Lucy I.
2ecd03f7-91ef-447a-9569-a01c0a4851eb
Mahajan, Sumeet
b131f40a-479e-4432-b662-19d60d4069e9
Jones, Michael R.
30ae1b72-7264-46d1-98c7-3ecf6a627b88
Welland, Mark E.
097596e0-b386-4c52-a4de-c0e3e0ed8e0d
Tan, Swee Ching
af5c7bdf-742b-44ef-b33a-3958d8b9de50
Crouch, Lucy I.
2ecd03f7-91ef-447a-9569-a01c0a4851eb
Mahajan, Sumeet
b131f40a-479e-4432-b662-19d60d4069e9
Jones, Michael R.
30ae1b72-7264-46d1-98c7-3ecf6a627b88
Welland, Mark E.
097596e0-b386-4c52-a4de-c0e3e0ed8e0d

Tan, Swee Ching, Crouch, Lucy I., Mahajan, Sumeet, Jones, Michael R. and Welland, Mark E. (2012) Increasing the open-circuit voltage of photoprotein-based photoelectrochemical cells by manipulation of the vacuum potential of the electrolytes. ACS Nano, 6 (10), 9103-9109. (doi:10.1021/nn303333e).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The innately highly efficient light-powered separation of charge that underpins natural photosynthesis can be exploited for applications in photoelectrochemistry by coupling nanoscale protein photoreaction centers to man-made electrodes. Planar photoelectrochemical cells employing purple bacterial reaction centers have been constructed that produce a direct current under continuous illumination and an alternating current in response to discontinuous illumination. The present work explored the basis of the open-circuit voltage (VOC) produced by such cells with reaction center/antenna (RC-LH1) proteins as the photovoltaic component. It was established that an up to 30-fold increase in VOC could be achieved by simple manipulation of the electrolyte connecting the protein to the counter electrode, with an approximately linear relationship being observed between the vacuum potential of the electrolyte and the resulting VOC. We conclude that the VOC of such a cell is dependent on the potential difference between the electrolyte and the photo-oxidized bacteriochlorophylls in the reaction center. The steady-state short-circuit current (JSC) obtained under continuous illumination also varied with different electrolytes by a factor of 6-fold. The findings demonstrate a simple way to boost the voltage output of such protein-based cells into the hundreds of millivolts range typical of dye-sensitized and polymer-blend solar cells, while maintaining or improving the JSC. Possible strategies for further increasing the VOC of such protein-based photoelectrochemical cells through protein engineering are discussed

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More information

Published date: 25 September 2012
Keywords: photovoltaic, photoelectrochemical cell, enhanced photovoltage, reaction center, electrolyte

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 346294
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/346294
ISSN: 1936-0851
PURE UUID: cf8c0e6c-2991-4517-a37c-fe3227325cce
ORCID for Sumeet Mahajan: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8923-6666

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 Dec 2012 10:07
Last modified: 09 Nov 2021 03:16

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Contributors

Author: Swee Ching Tan
Author: Lucy I. Crouch
Author: Sumeet Mahajan ORCID iD
Author: Michael R. Jones
Author: Mark E. Welland

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