Duan Research Group

Hetero-integrated Nanostructures and Nanodevices


Maximizing light-driven CO2 and N2 fixation efficiency in quantum dot–bacteria hybrids

Xun Guan, Sevcan Erşan, Xiangchen Hu, Timothy L Atallah, Yongchao Xie, Shengtao Lu, Bocheng Cao, Jingwen Sun, Ke Wu, Yu Huang, Xiangfeng Duan, Justin R Caram, Yi Yu, Junyoung O Park, Chong Liu

Nature catalysis (2022)

Integrating light-harvesting materials with microbial biochemistry is a viable approach to produce chemicals with high efficiency from air, water and sunlight. Yet it remains unclear whether all photons absorbed in the materials can be transferred through the material–biology interface for solar-to-chemical production and whether the presence of materials beneficially affects microbial metabolism. Here we report a microbe–semiconductor hybrid by interfacing the CO2- and N2-fixing bacterium Xanthobacter autotrophicus with CdTe quantum dots for light-driven CO2 and N2 fixation with internal quantum efficiencies of 47.2% ± 7.3% and 7.1% ± 1.1%, respectively, reaching the biochemical limits of 46.1% and 6.9% imposed by the stoichiometry in biochemical pathways. Photophysical studies suggest fast charge-transfer kinetics at the microbe–semiconductor interfaces, while proteomics and metabolomics indicate a material-induced regulation of microbial metabolism favouring higher quantum efficiencies compared with biological counterparts alone.
UCLA, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
607 Charles E. Young Drive East, Box 951569
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569
E-mail: xduan@chem.ucla.edu