Why not combine the best synthetic light absorbers with the best catalysts in biology, aka enzymes, for highly efficient and selective solar-to-chemical conversion?

Semi-artificial photosynthesis combines synthetic light absorbers with enzymes and aims to overcome the limitations of natural and artificial photosynthesis by assembling biohybrid photocatalysts with unique properties or record catalytic performance. Enzymes are macromolecular biological catalysts that have been naturally selected over billions of years to perform specific reactions with high selectivity and efficiency, thus displaying superior performance to synthetic catalysts for many reactions such as CO2 reduction. To unlock the full potential of enzymes immobilised on semiconductors, the understanding and optimisation of the biotic-abiotic interface is essential and our laboratory thus 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.

Selected Publications