Csiki R., Drieschner S., Lyuleeva A., Cattani-Scholz A., Stutzmann M., Garrido J.ADiamond and Related Materials89: 286 – 292. 2018. 10.1016/j.diamond.2018.09.005.

The direct conversion of sunlight into chemical energy via photosynthesis is a unique capability of plants and some bacterial species. Aimed at mimicking this energy conversion process, the combination of inorganic substrates and organic photoactive proteins into an artificial biohybrid system is of a great interest for artificial bio-photovoltaic applications. It also allows to better understand charge transfer processes involved in the photosynthetic chain. In this work, single layer graphene (SLG) and multilayer graphene (MLG) electrodes are used as a platform for the immobilization of reaction centers (RCs) from purple bacteria Rhodobacter sphaeroides, a protein complex responsible for the generation of photo-excited charges.

Electrochemical experiments with graphene electrodes and redox molecules reveal fundamental differences in the charge transfer processes for SLG and MLG films. We demonstrate that both graphene-based materials enable the immobilization of RCs without loss of functionality, attested by a photocurrent generation under illumination with IR-light at a wavelength of 870 nm. Furthermore, we report on the dependence of the generated photocurrent on the applied bias voltage, as well as on the presence of charge mediators in the surrounding electrolyte. This work demonstrates that SLG and MLG are a suitable platform for RC immobilization and subsequent photocurrent generation, suggesting a promising potential for graphene-based materials in bio-photovoltaics. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.

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