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Materials 2013, 6(5), 1803-1825; doi:10.3390/ma6051803

Engineering Cellular Photocomposite Materials Using Convective Assembly

1,2,*  and 1
1 Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, 911 Partners Way, NC 27695, USA 2 Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC), North Carolina State University, 850 Oval Drive, Centennial Campus, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 February 2013 / Revised: 22 April 2013 / Accepted: 23 April 2013 / Published: 7 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Bio-inspired Materials)
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Fabricating industrial-scale photoreactive composite materials containing living cells, requires a deposition strategy that unifies colloid science and cell biology. Convective assembly can rapidly deposit suspended particles, including whole cells and waterborne latex polymer particles into thin (<10 µm thick), organized films with engineered adhesion, composition, thickness, and particle packing. These highly ordered composites can stabilize the diverse functions of photosynthetic cells for use as biophotoabsorbers, as artificial leaves for hydrogen or oxygen evolution, carbon dioxide assimilation, and add self-cleaning capabilities for releasing or digesting surface contaminants. This paper reviews the non-biological convective assembly literature, with an emphasis on how the method can be modified to deposit living cells starting from a batch process to its current state as a continuous process capable of fabricating larger multi-layer biocomposite coatings from diverse particle suspensions. Further development of this method will help solve the challenges of engineering multi-layered cellular photocomposite materials with high reactivity, stability, and robustness by clarifying how process, substrate, and particle parameters affect coating microstructure. We also describe how these methods can be used to selectively immobilize photosynthetic cells to create biomimetic leaves and compare these biocomposite coatings to other cellular encapsulation systems.
Keywords: cellular photocomposites; continuous convective-sedimentation assembly; colloidal coatings; artificial leaves; biocomposite materials cellular photocomposites; continuous convective-sedimentation assembly; colloidal coatings; artificial leaves; biocomposite materials
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Jenkins, J.S.; Flickinger, M.C.; Velev, O.D. Engineering Cellular Photocomposite Materials Using Convective Assembly. Materials 2013, 6, 1803-1825.

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