Graphene-chlorophyll Phototransistor Uses Plant Material to Gather Light

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Plants for electronics? Maybe this is the future. Photo by Jon Sullivan on public domain image.

Plants for electronics? Maybe this is the future. Photo by Jon Sullivan

A Novel Approach to Combine Graphene and Chlorophyll with a Simple Process

According to Dr. Wang:

To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first one which considered the combination chlorophyll-graphene for an electronic device. The fabrication method is quite simple; this could facilitate the scale-up of the process. The technique we used was the drop-casting method: a drop of chlorophyll solution was placed on top of the graphene layer and left it to evaporate. In this way, a uniform coverage and a good contact between the two compounds can be achieved.”

Photoconduction: Very Efficient

The chlorophyll-graphene transistor showed very good efficiency: researchers observed a photoconductive gain of 106 electrons per photon and a responsivity of 106 A/W. As Dr. Wang stated: “this performance is comparable to other systems, such as graphene/quantum dot devices; it is quite impressive and shows a promising future.”

This could be due to the 2D geometry that both chlorophyll and graphene possess; due to the similarities of their structures, in fact, there is a high contact area between the two substances. This facilitates the charge transfer from chlorophyll to graphene.

Biomaterials and Graphene: Great Potential

According to Dr. Wang:

“The idea that you can combine a biomaterial such as chlorophyll together with graphene to make a phototransistor is quite fascinating. This discovery opens the doors to new applications; maybe someday, people may be able use substances from plants, not only for herbal medicine, but for optoelectronic devices.

Optoeletronic devices detect, find, and control light for use in a variety of applications. Successful combination of an organic substances with graphine means the potential applications of this technology are virtually endless.

Sources

Chen, S. et al. Biologically inspired graphene-chlorophyll transistor with high gain. (2013). . Accessed June 26, 2013.

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