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New Model Paves the Way Toward Sustainable Optical Devices

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A new study conducted showed how the glassy shells of diatoms tend to help such microscopic organisms carry out photosynthesis in dim conditions..

A new optical study reveals how the glassy shells of diatoms help these single-celled organisms perform photosynthesis, even under dim conditions. , and contains holes that change the behavior of the light depending on the configuration.Image Credit: Santiago Bernal, McGill University

A better understanding of how this phytoplankton tends to harvest and communicate with light could lead to enhanced sensing devices, solar cells, and optics.

The computational model and toolkit we have developed may pave the way for mass-manufacturable and sustainable optical devices and more efficient light-harvesting tools based on diatomaceous shells.. It can be used in biomimetic devices for sensing, new communication technologies, or affordable ways to make clean energy..

Santiago Bernal, Research Team Member, McGill University

Diatoms are single-celled organisms found in most bodies of water. Their shells are covered with holes that respond to light differently based on their spacing, size, and composition.

in the journal optical materials expressScientists led by David V. Plant and Mark Andrews at McGill University report the first optical study of an intact diatom shell. They examined how different parts of the shell, or shells, respond to sunlight and how this response is related to photosynthesis.

Based on our findings, we estimate that frustration could result in a 9.83% increase in photosynthesis.. Our model is the first to describe the optical behavior of the entire frustum. This thus contributes to the hypothesis that protozoa facilitate photosynthesis in diatoms.said Yannick D’Mello, lead author of the paper.

Combining microscopy and simulation

Diatoms have evolved over millions of years to survive in all aquatic environments. Their shell is made up of several regions that collectively work to collect sunlight. did.

Scientists can image the structure of the frustum using four high-resolution microscopy techniques: scanning electron microscopy, dark-field microscopy, scanning near-field optical microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. I started with In addition, they utilized such images to inform various models that the scientist built to examine every part of the cone through his 3D simulations.

With the help of these simulations, scientists analyzed how different colors of sunlight communicate with structures and identified three main photovoltaic mechanisms: redistribution and capture. , is hold. This method allowed us to integrate different optical ideas of frustules and show how they collectively work to help carry out photosynthesis.

We examined each component individually using a variety of simulation and microscopy techniques. That data is then used to determine how light interacts with structures, from the moment light is captured, to where it is distributed afterwards, how long it is retained, and to the moment it is likely to be absorbed by cells. I’ve built a study on how it works..

Yannick D’Mello, Department of Telecommunications Engineering, McGill University, First Author of the Study

Promotion of photosynthesis

This study revealed that the wavelengths at which shells interact match those absorbed during photosynthesis. This indicates that it may have been developed to help capture sunlight. Scientists also found that different regions of the cone can redistribute light so that it is absorbed throughout the cell.

This indicates that the shell evolved to improve cellular exposure to ambient light. Their findings also showed that light circulates in frassulu for a significant amount of time to aid photosynthesis during the transition period from high to low light.

A newly developed cone model may enable the growth of diatom species that tend to collect light at different wavelengths, thereby allowing them to be tuned for specific applications.

Using these light-harvesting mechanisms in diatoms to allow sunlight to be collected at more angles improves solar panel absorption, partially removing the dependence of panels facing the sun directly. can do..

Santiago Bernal, Research Team Member, McGill University

Scientists are now working to refine the model and plan to use the new toolkit to study other species of diatoms. Following that, they planned to extend the model beyond the interaction of light within a single frustration to analyze behaviors triggered by multiple frustration.

Journal reference:

D’Mello, Y., others(2022) The frustrating mechanism of solar energy harvesting. Nitschia Filiformis diatom. doi.org/10.1364/OME.473109.

sauce: https://www.optica.org/en-us/home/

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