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Photoelectron Generation by Photosystem II Core Complexes Tethered to Gold Surfaces

Authors

  • Michele Vittadello  Prof.,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 610 Taylor Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854 (USA), Fax: (+1) 732-932-4083
    2. PECS Department, Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, 1650 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225 (USA)
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  • Maxim Y. Gorbunov Prof.,

    1. Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Program, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 71 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8521 (USA)
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  • Daniel T. Mastrogiovanni,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 610 Taylor Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854 (USA), Fax: (+1) 732-932-4083
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  • Leszek S. Wielunski Dr.,

    1. Department of Physics, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 619 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854 (USA)
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  • Eric L. Garfunkel  Prof.,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 610 Taylor Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854 (USA), Fax: (+1) 732-932-4083
    2. Department of Physics, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 619 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854 (USA)
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  • Fernando Guerrero Dr.,

    1. Unité de Recherche Associée 2096, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Service de Bioénergétique, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette (France)
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  • Diana Kirilovsky Dr.,

    1. Unité de Recherche Associée 2096, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Service de Bioénergétique, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette (France)
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  • Miwa Sugiura Prof.,

    1. Cell-Free Science and Technology Research Center, Ehime University, Bunkyo-cho, Matsuyama, Ehime, 790-8577 (Japan)
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  • A. William Rutherford Dr.,

    1. Unité de Recherche Associée 2096, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Service de Bioénergétique, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette (France)
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  • Ahmad Safari Prof.,

    1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 607 Taylor Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8065 (USA)
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  • Paul G. Falkowski  Prof.

    1. Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 610 Taylor Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854 (USA), Fax: (+1) 732-932-4083
    2. Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Program, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 71 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8521 (USA)
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Abstract

By using a nondestructive, ultrasensitive, fluorescence kinetic technique, we measure in situ the photochemical energy conversion efficiency and electron transfer kinetics on the acceptor side of histidine-tagged photosystem II core complexes tethered to gold surfaces. Atomic force microscopy images coupled with Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy measurements further allow us to assess the quality, number of layers, and surface density of the reaction center films. Based on these measurements, we calculate that the theoretical photoelectronic current density available for an ideal monolayer of core complexes is 43 μA cm−2 at a photon flux density of 2000 μmol quanta m−2 s−1 between 365 and 750 nm. While this current density is approximately two orders of magnitude lower than the best organic photovoltaic cells (for an equivalent area), it provides an indication for future improvement strategies. The efficiency could be improved by increasing the optical cross section, by tuning the electron transfer physics between the core complexes and the metal surface, and by developing a multilayer structure, thereby making biomimetic photoelectron devices for hydrogen generation and chemical sensing more viable.

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