The breakthrough is quite significant, scientists at universities in Michigan and Pittsburgh believe. Their blend of a chemical used in solar panels and a plant protein that acts during photosynthesis “recreate the process that allows plants to turn sunlight into fuel,” the Michigan press-release cites the team as saying.“Human endeavors to transform the energy of sunlight into biofuels using either artificial materials or whole organisms have low efficiency,” Nicholas Kotov, Florence B. Cejka Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan and leader of the study explained.But what he and his peers have accomplished with their bionic approach is a true step forward, as it combines two of the most important features of its components – the strength of inorganic materials – which convert light into electronic energy – with biological molecules, whose chemical attributes bring those mechanical processes to life.The components are, respectably, cadmium telluride and cytochrome C. The semiconductor drinks in the sunlight and turns it into an electron, while the cytochrome C transports that electron in a process of photosynthesis.
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