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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Physical Biology of the Materials-Microorganism Interface.

  • Author(s): Sakimoto, Kelsey K
  • Kornienko, Nikolay
  • Cestellos-Blanco, Stefano
  • Lim, Jongwoo
  • Liu, Chong
  • Yang, Peidong
  • et al.

Future solar-to-chemical production will rely upon a deep understanding of the material-microorganism interface. Hybrid technologies, which combine inorganic semiconductor light harvesters with biological catalysis to transform light, air, and water into chemicals, already demonstrate a wide product scope and energy efficiencies surpassing that of natural photosynthesis. But optimization to economic competitiveness and fundamental curiosity beg for answers to two basic questions: (1) how do materials transfer energy and charge to microorganisms, and (2) how do we design for bio- and chemocompatibility between these seemingly unnatural partners? This Perspective highlights the state-of-the-art and outlines future research paths to inform the cadre of spectroscopists, electrochemists, bioinorganic chemists, material scientists, and biologists who will ultimately solve these mysteries.

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