Energy Systems Analysis

Power Scavenging and Optical Absorbance Analysis of Photosynthetically Active Protoplasts

[+] Author and Article Information
Ahmed Shahid

Nano-Bio Lab,
Nanotechnology Research
and Education Center,
Department of Bioengineering,
University of Texas at Arlington,
Arlington, TX 76019

Azhar Ilyas

Nano-Bio Lab,
Nanotechnology Research
and Education Center,
Department of Electrical Engineering,
University of Texas at Arlington,
Arlington, TX 76019

Maeli Melotto

Department of Biology,
University of Texas at Arlington,
Arlington, TX 76010

Michael H.-C. Jin

Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
University of Texas at Arlington,
Arlington, TX 76019

Samir M. Iqbal

Nano-Bio Lab,
Nanotechnology Research
and Education Center,
Department of Electrical Engineering,
Department of Bioengineering,
Joint Graduate Studies Committee,
Biomedical Engineering Program of University of
Texas at Arlington and University of Texas
Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas,
University of Texas at Arlington,
Arlington, TX 76019 
e-mail: smiqbal@uta.edu

1Present address: Sogeti USA LLC, Irving, TX 75039.

2Present address: 500 S. Cooper Street # 217, Arlington, TX 76019.

3Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology. Manuscript received April 1, 2011; final manuscript received July 12, 2012; published online December 12, 2012. Assoc. Editor: Gunnar Tamm.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 135(1), 012001 (Dec 12, 2012) (5 pages) Paper No: JERT-11-1041; doi: 10.1115/1.4007657 History: Received April 01, 2011; Revised July 12, 2012

Plants and photosynthetic bacteria hold protein molecular complexes that can efficiently harvest photons. This article presents fundamental studies to harness photochemical activities of photosynthetically active protoplast extracted from Arabidopsis plants. The conversion of photonic energy into electrical energy was characterized in the presence and absence of light. The photoinduced reactions of photosynthesis were measured using a patch clamp measurement system at a constant voltage. The optical characterization was also performed on the extracted protoplast. It showed absorption bands at a number of wavelengths. The current–voltage measurements done on protoplast extracts showed two orders of magnitude increase in current from dark to light conditions. The absorbance measurements showed very large bandwidth for extracted protoplasts. The analysis of the optical data measurements showed that protein complexes obtained from photosynthetic cells overcame the limitation of traditional organic solar cells that cannot absorb light in the visible-near infrared spectrum. The demonstration of electrical power scavenging from the protoplast of the plant can open avenues for bio–inspired and bio-derived power with better quantum electrical efficiency.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Growth of Arabidopsis after sowing (starting from left, weeks 1, 2, and 3)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Optical photomicrograph of intact and viable extracted protoplast

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Block diagram of the system designed for electrical measurements

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

I–V plot showing conductivity through buffer solution in the light and darkness

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

I–V data showing behavior of the extracted protoplast suspended in buffer solution under ramping voltage in the dark and light conditions

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Optical absorbance spectrum of buffer solution and protoplast suspension at wavelength from 300 to 1000 nm. The jump observed at ∼840 nm is an artifact that occurred when the light source in the spectrometer changed.



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