In order to trap the energy from sunlight antenna plants construct chlorophyll groups through chemical self-assembly in a highly ordered manner. Emulating this system would not only improve our understanding of how plants function so effectively but could also lead to new materials for harvesting solar energy as an alternative to silicon-based photovoltaic devices.
Researchers have exploited long-range chemical order to creating aggregate compounds that can either trap light or transfer energy. Now, Tsutomu Ishi-i and Shuntaro Mataka of the Kurume National College of Technology and their colleagues have synthesised a new type of light harvester and by incorporating different materials into the aggregate structure they can induce energy transfer too. UV-Vis spectroscopy and other techniques were used to reveal the details of this novel group of artificial self-assembling light-harvesting compounds that will help us understand plant photosynthesis and may eventually lead to an alternative to semiconductor-based solar panels.
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