Engineering a robust photovoltaic device with quantum dots and bacteriorhodopsin

Venkatesan Renugopalakrishnan, Bernardo Barbiellini, Chris King, Michael Molinari, Konstantin Mochalov, Alyona Sukhanova, Igor Nabiev, Peter Fojan, Harry L. Tuller, Michael Chin, Ponisseril Somasundaran, Esteve Padrós, Seeram Ramakrishna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


We present a route toward a radical improvement in solar cell efficiency using resonant energy transfer and sensitization of semiconductor metal oxides with a light-harvesting quantum dot (QD)/bacteriorhodopsin (bR) layer designed by protein engineering. The specific aims of our approach are (1) controlled engineering of highly ordered bR/QD complexes; (2) replacement of the liquid electrolyte by a thin layer of gold; (3) highly oriented deposition of bR/QD complexes on a gold layer; and (4) use of the Forster resonance energy transfer coupling between bR and QDs to achieve an efficient absorbing layer for dye-sensitized solar cells. This proposed approach is based on the unique optical characteristics of QDs, on the photovoltaic properties of bR, and on state-of-the-art nanobioengineering technologies. It permits spatial and optical coupling together with control of hybrid material components on the bionanoscale. This method paves the way to the development of the solid-state photovoltaic device with the efficiency increased to practical levels. © 2014 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16710-16717
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2014


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