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Fundamentals of photoelectric effects in molecular electronic thin film devices: applications to bacteriorhodopsin-based devices

Fundamentals of photoelectric effects in molecular electronic thin film devices: applications to bacteriorhodopsin-based devices

Biosystems 35(2-3): 117-121

This tutorial lecture focuses on the fundamental mechanistic aspects of light-induced charge movements in pigment-containing membranes. The topic is relevant to molecular electronics because many prototypes optoelectronic devices are configured as pigment-containing thin films. We use reconstituted bacteriorhodopsin membranes as an example to illustrate the underlying principle of measurements and data interpretation. Bacteriorhodopsin, a light-driven proton pump, is the only protein component in the purple membrane of Halobacterium halobium. It resembles the visual pigment rhodopsin chemically but performs the function of photosynthesis. Bacteriorhodopsin thus offers an unprecedented opportunity for us to compare the visual photoreceptor and the photosynthetic apparatus from a mechanistic point of view. Bacteriorhodopsin, well known for its exceptional chemical and mechanical stability, is also a popular advanced biomaterial for molecular device construction. The tutorial approaches the subject from two angles. First, the fundamental photoelectric properties are exploited for device construction. Second, basic design principles for photosensors and photon energy converters can be elucidated via 'reverse engineering'. The concept of molecular intelligence and the principle of biomimetic science are discussed.

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Accession: 008711981

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PMID: 7488699

DOI: 10.1016/0303-2647(94)01497-u

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