Why not combine the best that materials science and biology
has to offer to develop new concepts for solar energy
Semi-artificial photosynthetic systems aim to overcome the limitations of natural and artificial photosynthesis while providing an opportunity to investigate their respective functionality. Enzymes are macromolecular biological catalysts that have been naturally selected over billions of years to perform specific reactions with high selectivity and efficiency. In particular, we are interested in interfacing photosynthetic and redox active enzymes with custom-made high surface area electrodes to study their fundamental biology and drive interesting endergonic reactions. In parallel, we examine how more complex living microorganism systems can be recruited for in vivo fuel and chemical production.
Our lab employs a suite of chemical biology and biophysical methods, including advanced (photo)electrochemical techniques such as rotating ring disk electrochemistry, resonance Raman and infrared spectroscopy and quartz crystal microbalance measurements. To develop enzyme and cell-based hybrid (photo)electrochemical devices with light absorbing semiconductors such as metal oxides, perovskites and silicon we design high-surface area electrode materials, such as metal oxides, carbon nanotubes and graphene as conductive supports with high loading. We also study photocatalytic systems with semiconducting nanoparticles such as carbon dots, graphitic carbon nitride and quantum dots for hybrid solar fuel generation in suspension.