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A Photovoltaic Device Using an Electrolyte Containing Photosynthetic Reaction Centers

Publication Type:

Journal Article


ENERGIES, Volume 3, Number 11, p.1721-1727 (2010)


reaction center; Rhodobacter sphaeroides; mediators; photocurrent; bio-photovoltaic (bio-PV)


The performance of bio-photovoltaic devices with a monolayer of the
immobilized photosynthetic reaction center (RC) is generally low because
of weak light absorption and poor charge transfer between the RC and the
electrode. In this paper, a new bio-photovoltaic device is described in
which the RC is dissolved in the electrolyte of an electrochemical cell.
The charges generated by the illuminated RC are transferred to
electrodes via mediators. The difference between the reaction rates of
two types of mediator at the electrode surfaces determines the direction
of the photocurrent in the device. Experimental results show that the
magnitude of the photocurrent is proportional to the incident light
intensity, and the current increases nonlinearly with an increase in the
RC concentration in the electrolyte. With further optimization this
approach should lead to devices with improved light absorption.