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Technology

The current technology describes various methods to achieve this "bio-sensitization" of the solar cell. Protein based components (which can be derived from plant photosystems, bacterial reaction centers, algae, and so on) are first selected as "sensitizers", then stabilized using a range of recommended surfactant peptides. These stabilized sensitizers are then deposited onto metal oxide nanowires, through methods such as covalent chemical coupling, photochemical cross-linking, or surface modification. Because of the use of biologically-derived solar converters, cheaper and more widely available materials, such as Zinc Oxide, can be used in the nanowires. Previously, this would have been infeasible due to their low photoelectric efficiency.

The overall result is a low cost "photosystem" where incident solar energy drives a photochemical reaction in the sensitizer. Electrons are then released, which are transmitted through the nanowires onto an electrode.