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New biohybrid photovoltaic

Trainee Achievements

New biohybrid photovoltaic

Peter Ciesielski, a 3rd year IGERT fellow, won the 2008 Best Student Research Paper Award from the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering. The paper entitled "Functionalized Nanoporous Gold Leaf Electrode Films for the Immobilization of Photosystem I", appeared in ACS Nano. It involved the development of a new type of biohybrid photovoltaic that draws both inspiration and infrastructure from natural photosynthesis. The technology makes use of a protein complex called Photosystem I (PSI) that is extracted from commercially grown spinach to harvest energy from light and use it to drive an electrical current through an electrochemical cell. Ciesielski enhanced this process by moving from flat electrodes to nanoporous electrodes which accommodate more PSI complexes with increased photocurrents. This work was recently featured in the "Research Highlight" section of Nature Nanotechnology and has attracted international attention, appearing in the U.K.’s New Scientist magazine.