Biological templates for antireflective current collectors for photoelectrochemical cell applications.

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TitleBiological templates for antireflective current collectors for photoelectrochemical cell applications.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsChiang, C-Y, Epstein, J, Brown, A, Munday, JN, Culver, JN, Ehrman, S
JournalNano Lett
Date Published2012 Nov 14
KeywordsComputer Simulation, Copper, Electrochemistry, Electromagnetic Radiation, Imaging, Three-Dimensional, Light, Microscopy, Electron, Scanning, Microscopy, Electron, Transmission, Nanostructures, Nanotubes, Photochemistry, Surface Properties, Temperature, Time Factors, Tobacco Mosaic Virus, X-Ray Diffraction

Three-dimensional (3D) structures such as nanowires, nanotubes, and nanorods have the potential to increase surface area, reduce light reflection, and shorten charge carrier transport distances. The assembly of such structures thus holds great promise for enhancing photoelectrochemical solar cell efficiency. In this study, genetically modified Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV1cys) was used to form self-assembling 3D nanorod current collectors and low light-reflecting surfaces. Photoactive CuO was subsequently deposited by sputtering onto these patterned nanostructures, and these structures were examined for photocurrent activity. CuO thicknesses of 520 nm on TMV1cys patterned current collectors produced the highest photocurrent density of 3.15 mA/cm(2) yet reported for a similar sized CuO system. Reflectivity measurements are in agreement with full-wave electromagnetic simulations, which can be used as a design tool for optimizing the CuO system. Thus the combined effects of reducing charge carrier transport distance, increasing surface area, and the suppression of light reflection make these virus-templated surfaces ideal for photoelectrochemical applications.

Alternate JournalNano Lett.
PubMed ID23110584