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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Artificial leaf acts as mini-factory for drugs.

A research by Eindhoven University of Technology have come up with a super innovation where artificial leaves mimic natural counterparts to act as mini factory for drug .A 'mini-factory' whereby sunlight can be captured to make chemical products was inspired by the art of nature where leaves are able to collect enough sunlight to produce food. The study reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie,show chemical engineers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) describe their prototype reactor. Chemical engineers have always toyed with the idea of Using sunlight to make chemical products but problem then was that available sunlight generates too little energy to kick off reactions. Nature is able to do this, antenna molecules in leaves capture energy from sunlight and collect it in the reaction centers of the leaf where enough solar energy is present for the chemical reactions that give the plant its food . The use of new materials, known as luminescent solar concentrators (LSC's), that are able to capture sunlight in a similar way as leaves gave the desired result. The special light-sensitive molecules in these materials capture a large amount of the incoming light that they then convert into a specific color that is conducted to the edges via light conductivity. These LSC's are often used in practice in combination with solar cells to boost the yield. The researchers, led by Dr. Timothy Noël, combined the idea of an LSC with their knowledge of microchannels, incorporating very thin channels in a silicon rubber LSC through which a liquid can be pumped. In this way they were able to bring the incoming sunlight into contact with the molecules in the liquid with high enough intensity to generate chemical reactions.