Researchers led by Orlin Velev, North Carolina State University, USA, have demonstrated that water-gel-based solar devices can act like solar cells to produce electricity.
The devices are composed of water-based gel infused with light-sensitive molecules coupled with Cu electrodes coated with carbon in the form of nanotubes or graphite. The photosensitive ions, DAS and [Ru(bpy)3]2+, were used as the photoactive molecules embedded in aqueous gel. The devices gave similar or better performance than other recently reported biomimectic or ionic photovoltaic systems.
Incorporation of biologically derived photoactive molecules, including chlorophyll and photosystem II, was possible due to the water-gel matrix of the devices.