Photosynthesis converts solar energy to electricity in a highly efficient manner. Since only water is needed as fuel for energy conversion, this highly efficient energy conversion process has been rigorously investigated. In particular, photosynthetic apparatus, such as photosystem II (PSII), photosystem I (PSI), or thylakoids, have been isolated from various plants to construct bio-hybrid anodes. Although PSII or PSI decorated anodes have shown potentials, there still remain challenges, such as poor stability of PSII-based systems or need for electron donors other than water molecules of PSI-based systems. Thylakoid membranes are relatively stable after isolation and they contain all the necessary photosynthetic apparatus including the PSII and PSI. To increase electrical connections between thylakoids and anodes, nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes, nanowires, nanoparticles, or graphene have been employed. However, since they rely on the secondary electrical connections between thylakoids and anodes; it is desired to achieve larger direct contacts between them. Here, we aimed to develop micro-pillar (MP) array anodes to maximize direct contact with thylakoids. The thylakoid morphology was analyzed and the MP array was designed to maximize direct contact with thylakoids. The performance of MP anodes and a photosynthetic fuel cell based on MP electrodes was demonstrated and analyzed.
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