Advanced Concepts and Applications

Bioinspired molecular electrets: bottom-up approach to energy materials and applications

[+] Author Affiliations
Jillian M. Larsen

University of California, Riverside, Department of Bioengineering, 217 MSE Building, Riverside, California 92521, United States

Eli M. Espinoza

University of California, Riverside, Department of Chemistry, 501 Big Springs Road, Riverside, California 92521, United States

Valentine I. Vullev

University of California, Riverside, Department of Bioengineering, 217 MSE Building, Riverside, California 92521, United States

University of California, Riverside, Department of Chemistry, 501 Big Springs Road, Riverside, California 92521, United States

University of California, Riverside, Department of Biochemistry, 1463 Boyce Hall, Riverside, California 92521, United States

University of California, Riverside, Materials Science and Engineering Program, 307 MSE Building, Riverside, California 92521, United States

J. Photon. Energy. 5(1), 055598 (May 15, 2015). doi:10.1117/1.JPE.5.055598
History: Received March 7, 2015; Accepted April 16, 2015
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Abstract.  The diversity of life on Earth is made possible through an immense variety of proteins that stems from less than a couple of dozen native amino acids. Is it possible to achieve similar engineering freedom and precision to design electronic materials? What if a handful of non-native residues with a wide range of characteristics could be rationally placed in sequences to form organic macromolecules with specifically targeted properties and functionalities? Referred to as molecular electrets, dipolar oligomers and polymers composed of non-native aromatic beta-amino acids, anthranilamides (Aa) provide venues for pursuing such possibilities. The electret molecular dipoles play a crucial role in rectifying charge transfer, e.g., enhancing charge separation and suppressing undesired charge recombination, which is essential for photovoltaics, photocatalysis, and other solar-energy applications. A set of a few Aa residues can serve as building blocks for molecular electrets with widely diverse electronic properties, presenting venues for bottom-up designs. We demonstrate how three substituents and structural permutations within an Aa residue widely alter its reduction potential. Paradigms of diversity in electronic properties, originating from a few changes within a basic molecular structure, illustrate the promising potentials of biological inspiration for energy science and engineering.

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© 2015 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Jillian M. Larsen ; Eli M. Espinoza and Valentine I. Vullev
"Bioinspired molecular electrets: bottom-up approach to energy materials and applications", J. Photon. Energy. 5(1), 055598 (May 15, 2015). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JPE.5.055598


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