The engineering of biological pathways with man-made materials provides inspiring blueprints for sustainable fuel production. Here, we leverage a top-down cellular engineering strategy to develop a new semi-artificial photosynthetic paradigm for carbon dioxide reduction via enveloping Halobacterium purple membrane-derived vesicles over Pd-deposited hollow porous TiO2 nanoparticles. In this biohybrid, the membrane protein, bacteriorhodopsin, not only retains its native biological function of pumping protons but also acts as a photosensitizer that injects light-excited electrons into the conduction band of TiO2. As such, the electrons trapped on Pd cocatalysts and the protons accumulated inside the cytomimetic architecture act in concert to reduce CO2 via proton-coupled multielectron transfer processes. This study provides an alternative toolkit for developing robust semi-artificial photosynthetic systems for solar energy conversion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry