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Light-driven directional ion transport for enhanced osmotic energy harvesting

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Xiao,  Kai
Kolloidchemie, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Giusto,  Paolo
Paolo Giusto, Kolloidchemie, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Heil,  Tobias
Nadezda V. Tarakina, Kolloidchemie, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Cao,  Shaowen
Markus Antonietti, Kolloidchemie, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Chen,  Lu
Markus Antonietti, Kolloidchemie, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Xiao, K., Giusto, P., Chen, F., Chen, R., Heil, T., Cao, S., et al. (2020). Light-driven directional ion transport for enhanced osmotic energy harvesting. National Science Review. doi:10.1093/nsr/nwaa231.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-4C19-9
Abstract
Light-driven ion (proton) transport is a crucial process both for photosynthesis of green plants and solar energy harvesting of some archaea. Here, we describe that TiO2/C3N4 semiconductor heterojunction nanotube membrane can realize a similar light-driven directional ion transport performance as biological systems. This heterojunction system can be fabricated by two simple deposition steps. Under unilateral illumination, TiO2/C3N4 heterojunction nanotube membrane can generate a photocurrent of about 9 μA/cm2, corresponding to a pumping stream of ∼5500 ions per second per nanotube. By changing the position of TiO2 and C3N4, a reverse equivalent ionic current can also be realized. Directional transport of photo generated electrons and holes results in a transmembrane potential, which is the basis of the light-driven ion transport phenomenon. As a proof of concept, we also show that this system can be used for enhanced osmotic energy generation. The artificial light-driven ion transport system proposed here offers a further step forward on the roadmap for the development of ionic photoelectric conversion and their integration in other applications, e.g. water desalination.