The ability to exchange energy and information between biological and electronic materials is critical in the development of hybrid electronic systems in biomedicine, environmental sensing, and energy applications. While sensor technology has been extensively developed to collect detailed molecular information, less work has been done on systems that can specifically modulate the chemistry of the environment with temporal and spatial control. The bacterial photosynthetic reaction center represents an ideal photonic component of such a system in that it is capable of modifying local chemistry via light-driven redox reactions with quantitative control over reaction rates and has inherent spectroscopic probes for monitoring function. Here a well-characterized model system is presented, consisting of a transparent, porous electrode (antimony-doped tin oxide) which is electrochemically coupled to the reaction center via a cytochrome c molecule. Upon illumination, the reaction center performs the 2-step, 2-electron reduction of a ubiquinone derivative which exchanges with oxidized quinone in solution. Electrons from the electrode then move through the cytochrome to reoxidize the reaction center electron donor. The result is a facile platform for performing redox chemistry that can be optically and electronically controlled in time and space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25104-25110
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 28 2016


  • antimony-doped tin oxide (ATO)
  • cytochrome c
  • electron transfer
  • photocurrent
  • porous electrode
  • reaction center

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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