Bacteriorhodopsin-based photo-electrochemical cell

TitleBacteriorhodopsin-based photo-electrochemical cell
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsChu, LK, Yen, CW, EL-Sayed, MA
JournalBiosensors & Bioelectronics
Date PublishedOct
ISBN Number0956-5663
Accession NumberWOS:000283804400051

A simple solution-based electrochemical cell has been constructed and successfully employed in the detection of the photoelectric response upon photoexcitation of bacteriorhodopsin (bR) without external bias. Commercially-available indium tin oxide (ITO) glasses served as the optical windows and electrodes. Small amounts of bR suspensions (similar to 100 mu L) were utilized as the photovoltaic medium to generate the proton gradient between two half-cells separated by a molecular porous membrane. Continuous broadband visible light (lambda >380 nm) and a short-pulse 532-nm laser were employed for the photoexcitation of bR. Upon the modulated cw broadband irradiation, an instantaneous rise and decay of the current was observed. Our observations of the pH-dependent photocurrent are consistent with previous reports in a bR thin film configuration, which also showed a polarity inversion at pH 5-6. This is due to the change of the priority of the proton release and proton uptake in the photocycle of bR. Studies on the ionic strength effect were also carried out at different KC1 concentrations, which resulted in the acceleration of the rise and decay of the photoelectric response. This was accompanied by a decrease in the stationary photocurrent at higher KC1 concentrations in the broadband excitation experiments. The solution-based electrochemical cell uses aqueous medium, which is required for the completion of the bR proton pumping function. Due to the generation of the stationary current, it is advantageous to convert solar energy into electricity without the need of film-based photovoltaic devices with external bias. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.