Direct harvesting of electricity from photosynthesis is highly desired as an eco-friendly and sustainable energy harvesting technology. Photosynthetic apparatuses isolated from plants, such as thylakoid membranes (TMs), are deposited on an electrode by which photosynthetic electrons (PEs) are collected from water splitting. To enhance PE collection efficiency, it is critical to increase the electrochemical interfaces between TMs and the electrode. Considering the size of TMs to be around a few hundred nanometer, we hypothesize that an array of micropillar-shaped (MP) electrode can maximize the TM/electrode interface area. Thus, we developed MP electrodes with different heights and investigated the electrospraying of TM-alginate mixtures to fill the gaps between MPs uniformly and conformally. The uniformity of the TM-alginate film and the interaction between the TM and the MP electrode were evaluated to understand how the MP heights and film quality influenced the magnitude of the PE currents. PE currents increased up to 2.4 times for an MP electrode with an A/R of 1.8 compared to a flat electrode, indicating increased direct contact interface between TMs and the electrode. Furthermore, to demonstrate the scalability of this approach, an array of replicated SU-8 MP electrodes was prepared and PE currents of up to 3.2 μA were monitored without a mediator under 68 mW/cm2. Finally, the PE current harvesting was sustained for 14 days without decay, demonstrating the long-term stability of the TM-alginate biophotoanodes.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)