12:10 PM - SM11.02.03
Diatoms Microalgae as Living Platforms for Optoelectronics
Gianluca Farinola1,Stefania Cicco2,Roberta Ragni1,Danilo Vona1,Gabriella Buscemi1,Gabriella Leone1
Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro1,CNR-ICCOM2
Diatoms are single celled microalgae which couple photosynthetic activity with the biomineralization process of conversion of inorganic silicate into complex and nanostructured biosilica. Biosilica shells (frustules) exhibit high surface area, periodic porosity, transparency and mechanical resistance. All these features of their silica shells make diatoms appealing living sources of sustainable smart materials for applications in photonics, optoelectronics, sensing and biomedicine .
Recently, we demonstrated an in vivo protocol which enables frustules’ silica modification by simple introduction of functional molecules into the colture medium. Many functional molecules can be introduced into the biosilica by this approach, including organic  and organometallic emitters  and also compounds of pharmacological interest .
We recently demonstrated that a surface adherent diatom species, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, can self-populate and propagate on transparent conductive ITO electrodes, producing photocurrents. In addition, these diatoms can uptake luminescent and optoelectronically active organometallic complexes during their growth and adhesion process. The combination of these features enables to envision microalgae as a platform which can self-assemble in optoelectronically active layers, suitable for producing living micro-devices.
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