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Researchers at CCNY discuss obstacles to the harvesting of bio-inspired solar energy materials

Researchers who hail from The City College of New York, influenced by nature (CCNY) demonstrated a synthetic technique to stabilize materials for processing bio-inspired solar energy. Their results, published in Nature Chemistry’s latest issue, maybe a big advance in the functionalization of molecular assemblies for potential applications for converting solar energy. Despite intense heat or cold temperatures, you’ll find photosynthetic species trying to absorb solar energy in nearly every corner of the planet. Uncovering the secrets of nature on how to harness light so effectively and robustly could change the landscape of renewable solar energy technology, especially in the aftermath of increasing worldwide temperatures.

In photosynthesis, the association between light as well as the light-harvesting antenna, that is made of delicate materials referred as the supra-molecular assemblies, is the first step (which is, light-harvesting). A two-component structure, from the leafy green plants to the small bacteria, was formed by Evolution: the supra-molecular assemblies are enclosed in protein or the lipid scaffolds. What function this scaffold plays are not yet clear, but recent research indicates that evolution may have created these advanced protein environments to be able to stabilize their delicate supra-molecular assemblies. 

“While the complexity of the scaffolds of proteins present in photosynthetic species cannot be reproduced, we have been able to adapt the fundamental principle of a defensive scaffold to secure our antenna for artificial light-harvesting,” Dr. Kara Ng added. She has co-authored with Ilona Kretzschmar and Dorthe M. Eisele, who both are Professors at the CCNY, as well as Seogjoo Jang, a high-ranking professor at the Queens College. It has so far been ineffective to transform the design concepts of nature into large-scale photovoltaic systems.

She, together with her research team, however do not aim to enhance the designs of solar cells that already exist.” “But we intend to benefit from the masterpieces of nature to stimulate completely new architectures for harvesting solar energy,” she said.

The failure may lie in the design paradigm of existing solar cell architectures in the new solar cell architectures’ design paradigm. However, she and her fellow researchers do not aim to upgrade current solar cells’ current prototypes. “But they intend to learn from the masterpieces of the earth to inspire completely new architectures for harvesting solar energy,” she said.

The researchers show, inspired by evolution, how small, cross-linked molecules can overcome obstacles to supra-molecular assembly functionalization. They discovered that silane molecules would auto-assemble around the artificial supra-molecular light-harvesting amplifier to form stabilizing, interlocking scaffold.

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