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Artificial Photo Synthesi w8

Artificial Photo Synthesi w8

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Published by: Toaster97 on May 06, 2013
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ARTIFICIAL PHOTOSYNTHESIS:
Marriage of Nature and Electronics
ABSTARCT
Photosynthesis is the process by which plant survives andacts as a greatest sink for carbon dioxide. This paper shows that how a photosynthesis reaction in plants takes place artificially with the help of electronic components.This paper starts with introducing the basic reactions thatoccurs in plant in the process of photosynthesis. Next itgives information about photovoltaic cell. This paper alsodeals four steps describing the process of Artificial photosynthesis (AFP). First is the chlorophyll in a leaf isreplaced with a photovoltaic cell which release electronswhen exited by solar energy. Second step is to split water molecule where as artificially it is done with biomimetricengineering by fabricating new core with new geometryfor splitting of water molecule. The third step that bio-energy transfer that occurs because of adenosinetriphosphate (ATP) and sodium diphosphate (NADPH).The last process is to convert CO2 to other organiccomponents. Then it goes to micro fabrication of AFP.
1.0 INTRODUCTION
It is still unclear where most of our energy will comefrom in the longer-term future. Solar power cannot produce industrial quantities of electricity, while the tideis turning against wind turbines because they spoil thelandscape and too many would be needed to replaceconventional generators. Nuclear energy remains in thedoldrums. Fossil fuels continue to threaten globalwarming.But a promising new contender is emerging: theharnessing of photosynthesis, the mechanism by which plants derive their energy. The idea is to create artificialsystems that exploit the basic chemistry of photosynthesisin order to produce hydrogen or other fuels both for engines and electricity. Hydrogen burns cleanly, yielding just water and energy. There is also the additional benefitthat AFP could mop up any excess carbon dioxide leftover from our present era of profligate fossil fuelconsumption.As we learned in school, photosynthesis is the process bywhich plants extract energy from sunlight to producecarbohydrates and ultimately proteins and fats fromcarbon dioxide and water, releasing oxygen into theatmosphere as a by-product. The evolution of  photosynthesis in its current form made animal life possible by producing the oxygen we breathe and thecarbon-based foods we eat. Photosynthesis does this on amassive scale, converting about 1,000bn metric tons of Carbon dioxide into organic matter each year, yieldingabout 700bn metric tons of oxygen [1].
2.0 WHAT IS PHOTOSYNTHESIS?
Photosynthesis is the process of converting light energyto chemical energy and storing it in the bonds of sugar.This process occurs in plants and some algae. Plants needonly light energy, CO
2
, and H
2
O to make sugar. The process of photosynthesis takes place in the chloroplasts,specifically using chlorophyll, the green pigmentinvolved in photosynthesis. Chlorophyll looks green because it absorbs red and blue light, making these colorsunavailable to be seen by our eyes. Natural photosynthesis carries out the following overallreaction in the carbon fixation process:CO2 + H2O + [Light Energy] => O2 + Carbohydrate(This is the source of the O
2
we breathe.)When a pigment absorbs light energy, the energy caneither be dissipated as heat, emitted at a longer wavelength as fluorescence, or it can trigger a chemicalreaction. Certain membranes and structures in photosynthetic organisms serve as the structural units o photosynthesis because chlorophyll will only participatein chemical reactions when the molecule is associatedwith proteins embedded in a membrane. Photosynthesis isa two-stage process, and in organisms that havechloroplasts, two different areas of these structures housethe individual processes. A light-dependent process(often termed light reactions) takes place in the grana,while a second light-independent process (dark reactions)subsequently occurs in the stroma of chloroplasts. It is
 
 believed that the dark reactions can take place in theabsence of light as long as the energy carriers developedin the light reactions are present.The first stage of photosynthesis occurs when the energyfrom light is directly utilized to produce energy carrier molecules, such as ATP and NADPH. However, animportant protein in that process is Rubisco. In this stage,water is split into its components, and oxygen is releasedas a by-product. The energized transportation vehicles aresubsequently utilized in the second and most fundamentalstage of the photosynthetic process: production of carbon-to-carbon covalent bonds. The second stage does notrequire illumination (a dark process), and is responsiblefor providing the basic nutrition for the plant cell, as wellas building materials for cell walls and other components.In the process, carbon dioxide is fixed along withhydrogen to form carbohydrates, a family of  biochemical’s that contain equal numbers of carbon atomsand water molecules. Overall, the photosynthetic processdoes not allow living organisms to directly utilize lightenergy, but instead involves energy capture in the firststage followed by a second stage of complex biochemicalreactions that converts the energy into chemical bonds.
3.0 WHAT IS AFP?
Figure 1 Schematic representation of a light-harvestingcomplex and reaction centreFigure 1 gives an overview of the process of AFP. Energyin the form of light is collected by a series of chromophores that absorb light of progressively longer wavelength (lower energy) at each successive level. Alarge number of chromophores at each energy levelincrease the probability of light absorption and with proper placement of the chromophores, the excitationenergy, where it is collected at a single spot, the reactioncentre. Electron transfer to an electron acceptor (A)creates an initial charge separation. Subsequent transfer of an electron from an electron donor (D) to the reactioncentre creates the final charge-separated state. Theelectron and corresponding "hole" formed by the loss of an electron may then be used for chemical reactions, be itthe production of ATP and O2 in natural systems, or H2and O2 in artificial systems. The benefits of both naturaland artificial systems are clear: sunlight is converted intouseful forms of energy [2].Chemical reactions need energy in the form of electronsmoving at high speeds to power them, in other words anelectrical potential or voltage. Plants are in effect solar cells converting light into electrical energy. But for this to be sustainable, plants need a constant source of electrons,and this has to be an element or compound already present in the plant.It takes about 2.5 volts to break a single water moleculedown into oxygen along with negatively chargedelectrons and positively charged protons. It is theextraction and separation of these oppositely chargedelectrons and protons from water molecules that providethe electric power. In plants, chlorophylls evolved toharvest light, and a complex labyrinth of proteins toconduct the photons to a suitable centre where this crucialwater-splitting takes place. In plants, oxygen is the only by-product of this process, but researchers realized someyears ago that the reaction could be tweaked to producehydrogen as well. Still, tweaking photosynthesis to produce hydrogen rather than electrical energy is the easy bit.Thus the requirement of potential energy as well asnegative and positive electrons we need a device thatfulfills these requirements which are satisfied through photo voltaic cell. Organic cells are much preferred asthey are light in weight and thin in structure helping tomake nano pieces.
4.0 PHOTOVOLTAIC CELL
A photovoltaic cell uses semiconductor material totransform light into electrical energy. Photons from lighthitting the material excite electrons, releasing them fromtheir atoms into the material. Once electrons are excited,they are able to move freely within the material. Thesemi-conductor then serves to force the electrons in the
 
desired directions. By creating a junction of a p and ntype semiconductor, an electrical potential is created. Theelectrons move from the n-type to the p-type. Meanwhile,the positively charged atoms move from the p-type to then-type. As a result, the n-type material gains a positivecharge and the p-type gains a negative charge. When anelectrical circuit connects the p-type and n-type ends,difference in electrical potential is created which results incurrent. Figure 2 shows the operation of photovoltaic cell.This type of cell can be manufactured in many differentways. A monocrystalline semi conductor is much like theideal type described above. It has a pure p type crystal placed on a pure n type semiconductor crystal. This typeof cell is the most efficient in terms of turning energy intoelectricity. But, it is expensive to manufacture because itis costly to produce large crystals of semiconductor material. A far more cost effective material to produce is polycrystalline cells. These consist of small grains of crystals randomly oriented to each other. Because thesmaller crystals, much easier to manufacture, are simply placed together it is much cheaper. However, energy islost as electrons must maneuver between the differentcrystals. This form of cells results in a lower efficiency.However, because it is the most economically efficient, itis used today. [3]
5.0 PROCESS TO DO AFP5.1 First step
In nature, photosynthesis is the process by which plantstake light, water, and carbon dioxide, and transform theminto energy and food. There are four main steps needed to be mimicked in order for AFP to work. First, a way toharvest the solar energy, or light from the sun, must befound. Currently, there seems to be two major rivaling processes: silicon technology versus organic photovoltaics. The latter refers to a process that wouldimitate the natural process by using material analogous tochlorophyll. Basically, this material would be a thingmembrane that captures the light and then passes the photons on to the next step. At the present, the silicontechnology produces up to 33% efficiency in convertingthe sun into electricity [4]. This process basically usesmicro solar panels. Even though they have only beenable to reach as high as 8% with organic photovoltaics its potential efficiency is better than what can be done withsilicon technology. Indeed it is more efficient for lightabsorption to have these thin layers of organic photovoltaics, what better way to paint them on than witha digital fabrication technique such as a nano form of continuous deposition. The digital data would providethe accuracy needed for a uniform thickness whilefabbing the appropriate mixture of materials to mimicchlorophyll. This process of course would not becomeavailable until digital fabrication was able to perform onthe nanoscale.
5.2 Second Step
The second process needed to be mimicked is modifyingthe process by which the plant uses the photon to split thewater molecule into hydrogen and oxygen. Up untilrecently, attempts at replicating this process in thelaboratory had failed because it has to be extremely balanced in order to get the geometry just right. In anoriginal plant there is a “complex labyrinth of proteins toconduct the photons to a suitable centre where this crucialwater-splitting takes place [5]. A recent breakthroughdiscovered the precise location and arrangement of molecules that made this water molecule location of justa few splitting possible. It is identified the precise criticalmolecules of manganese, oxygen and calcium within thecore of the plant’s photosynthesis engine where thewater-splitting is performed.Hence to perform this artificially there is a need tofabricate the whole environment on a chip which can bedone through nanotechnology. Fabricating the films and paths for the photons to pass through and follow is acrucial step before it reaches the core, but being able tofabricate perfect geometry of the core would beinvaluable which is known as “biomimetric” [6]. Nanodigital fabrication would be a major break through on thislevel as can be seen by the advancement in theimplementation of AF that would takes place.
5.3 Third Step
The third step that needs to be mimicked is the “bio-energy” transfer that occurs because of ATP and NADPH, which has had slow progress. However, animportant protein in that process is Rubisco, whichactually waterproofs the reaction site which is selectivefor carbon dioxide. If that part of the protein which is

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