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Researchers Recreate Photosynthesis to Power Devices

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A plant growing from a compact flourescent bulb.

An international team is studying artificial photosynthesis as part of the Bio-inspired Molecular Optoelectronics (BIMORE) project.

Credit: 123RF

Artificial photosynthesis could lead to an alternative to petrol, to ultradense computer memories, or highly efficient solar cells.

An international team is studying the process as part of the Bio-inspired Molecular Optoelectronics (BIMORE) project, which is researching how to use molecular building blocks to power electronic components. The researchers want to reduce electronics to the scale of a single molecule. They grew light-harvested purple bacteria, which was then studied using femtosecond spectroscopy, and observed how energy transfer could be managed to optimize efficiency in optoelectronics. The researchers constructed an antenna to capture light similar to those that pick up radio signals.

The ability to charge molecules presents new opportunities, but the ability to switch them on and off would be more valuable. The team also developed a light-emitting transistor covered with a layer of photochromic molecules displaying promising switching properties.

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