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“Spin Coating Photoactive Photosystem I−PEDOT:PSS Composite Films” published in ACS Applied Polymer Materials, selected as VINSE Spotlight Publication

Posted by on Wednesday, February 21, 2024 in News, Spotlight Publications.


About the author: Marc Nabhan, a 2023 PhD graduate from the Department of Chemical Engineering, successfully defended his dissertation under the guidance of Dr. Kane Jennings. Currently serving as the co-founder and CEO of Optomar Technologies, Marc leads the development of a metabolic rate sensor designed for precise calorie counting in medical ICUs. During his tenure at Vanderbilt, Marc’s research primarily revolved around biohybrid solar energy conversion, with a particular focus on leveraging Photosystem I (PSI), a plant protein complex, as a promising alternative energy source within the realm of renewable energy and sustainability. His recent publication, co-authored alongside Dr. Carlos Batista and Dr. David Cliffel, delved into the deposition of PSI and a conducting polymer, PEDOT:PSS, for the fabrication of biohybrid thin films via spin-coating. Through the adoption of this straightforward and cost-effective deposition technique, Marc and his collaborators achieved uniform, reproducible, and rapid film formation, allowing for the easy adjustment of composite film composition and thickness, reaching up to a few hundred nanometers. This groundbreaking research showcases the capability to spin-coat a membrane protein from aqueous solution, significantly reducing deposition times by over tenfold compared to conventional drop casting methods. Moreover, the resulting PSI-PEDOT:PSS composite films demonstrated uniformity, conductivity, and photo-activity, all of which are scalable attributes. They exhibited excellent photoelectrochemical performance relative to comparable thin films and showcased robust polymer-protein interactions, marking a significant stride towards the commercialization of PSI-based photovoltaics in solar energy conversion technologies.

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