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Conversion of Light to Electricity by Photoinduced Reversible pH Changes and Biomimetic Nanofluidic Channels

Authors

  • Liping Wen,

    1. Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (BNLMS), Key Laboratory of Organic Solids, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. China
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  • Ye Tian,

    1. Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (BNLMS), Key Laboratory of Organic Solids, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. China
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  • Yongli Guo,

    1. Key Laboratory of Bio-Inspired Smart Interfacial Science and Technology of Ministry of Education, School of Chemistry and Environment, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, P. R. China
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  • Jie Ma,

    1. Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (BNLMS), Key Laboratory of Organic Solids, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. China
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  • Weida Liu,

    1. Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (BNLMS), Key Laboratory of Organic Solids, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. China
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  • Lei Jiang

    Corresponding author
    1. Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (BNLMS), Key Laboratory of Organic Solids, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. China
    2. Key Laboratory of Bio-Inspired Smart Interfacial Science and Technology of Ministry of Education, School of Chemistry and Environment, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, P. R. China
    • Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (BNLMS), Key Laboratory of Organic Solids, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, P. R. China.
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Abstract

Inspired by living systems that have the inherent skill to convert solar energy into bioelectric signals with their light-driven cross-membrane proton pump, a photoelectric conversion system that can work in alkaline conditions based on photoinduced reversible pH changes by malachite green carbinol base and a smart gating hydroxide ion-driven nanofluidic channel is demonstrated. In this system, solar energy can be considered as the only source of cross-membrane proton motive force that induces diffusion potential and photocurrent flowing through the external circuit. The conversion performances are 0.00825% and 36%, which are calculated from the photoelectric conversion and Gibbs free energy diffusion, respectively. The results suggest that electric power generation and performance could be further optimized by selecting appropriate photosensitized molecules and enhancing the surface-charge density as well as adopting the appropriate channel size. This facile, cost-efficient, and environmentally friendly photoelectric conversion system has potential applications for future energy demands such as production of power for in vivo medical devices.

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