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Physicists have improved the effectiveness of “green” solar panel is 2.5 times


U.S. physicists have created a hybrid power source based on photosynthetic proteins PS1 and a silicon solar cell, superior performance similar development factor of 2.5, and issued “instructions” for its assembly in an article in the journal Advanced Materials.

“This combination produces a current in a thousand times superior to what we have received, covering protein plates of different metals. If we continue on the current trajectory, gradually increasing the strength of the current and voltage, we will reach the level of a full-fledged technology to convert the sun’s energy into electricity in three years, “- said the head of a group of scientists Kliffel David (David Cliffel) of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN (USA).
Kliffel and his colleagues experimented with protein photosystem-I (PS1) – complex compound of the pigment chlorophyll and several protein chains. Green plants, algae and bacteria use it to capture photons and convert their energy into free electrons, which are then consumed in the synthesis of nutrients.
In recent years, scientists are trying to adapt this protein to produce electricity or other problems. Thus, in December 2011, American chemists PS1 used to create a “hydrogen factories” light energy is stored in the hydrogen molecule. Four months later, Israeli physicists have adapted this protein for use in the battery, which uses light and water to produce electricity.


The authors found that the efficiency of photosystem-I is highly dependent on the conductive properties of the substrate, to which were attached to the molecules of the protein complex. Physics sorted out the various options for the substrate materials, including metals and pure silicon.

Best of all silicon showed a large number of impurities in the form of boron or aluminum, which is part of the so-called semiconductor p-type. Atoms of boron and aluminum, integrated in a silicon crystal creates a region with an excess positive charge, so-called “hole” that improve the electrical conductivity of silicon.

Picking the right material, the researchers have collected experimental “green” solar panel. For this, they have grown spinach leaves, removed from them PS1 protein and caused its solution on a plate of silicon. Then, this “sandwich” is placed in a vacuum chamber to remove the water molecules from the surface of the protein film.

According to physicists, one square centimeter of the coating generates about millivolts of electricity with a voltage of 0.3 volts, which exceeds the capacity of the previous developments in 2.5-3 times. According Kliffel and his colleagues, the further development of this technology will use such “green” battery to charge or power mobile electronic devices.