Spinach to fuel optoelectronics
Mar 23, 1999
Spinach, not silicon, may be the basis of the next generation of opto-electronic devices, say Ida Lee, James Lee and Elias Greenbaum from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US. They have discovered a way of removing certain pigment-protein complexes known as "Photosystem I (PSI) reactor centres" from spinach membranes and bonding them instead to an electronic device. The PSI centres convert light into chemical energy.
Although they are only 5nm long, each complex can generate 1 V in picoseconds, making them suitable for ultrafast switching, logic devices, and solar-power generation. The work was presented this week at the American Physical Society's centennial meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.