Biomimetic strategies for solar energy conversion: a technical perspective

Ardemis A. Boghossian, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Moon-Ho Ham, Gwangju Institute of Science & Technology
Jong Hyun Choi, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
Michael S. Strano, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date of this Version



Energy Environ. Sci., 2011,4, 3834-3843


Plants have evolved highly sophisticated light-harvesting mechanisms that allow for increased environmental tolerances and robustness, enhanced photo-efficiencies and prolonged lifetimes. These mechanisms incorporate the dynamic, cyclic self-assembly of proteins necessary for continual plant regeneration. Synthetic solar conversion devices, on the other hand, are designed to be static devices. Material and processing costs continue to be important constraints for commercial devices, and the earth abundance of requisite elements have become a recent concern. One potential solution to these problems lies in the development of biomimetic solar conversion devices that take advantage of the low material costs, negative carbon footprint, material abundance and dynamic self-assembly capabilities of photosynthetic proteins. Although research in this area is ongoing, this review is intended to give a brief overview of current biomimetic strategies incorporated into light-harvesting and energy-conversion mechanisms of synthetic solar devices, as well as self-repair and regeneration mechanisms adapted from plant-based processes.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology