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Title: Nanoscale membranes that chemically isolate and electronically wire up the abiotic/biotic interface

By electrochemically coupling microbial and abiotic catalysts, bioelectrochemical systems such as microbial electrolysis cells and microbial electrosynthesis systems synthesize energy-rich chemicals from energy-poor precursors with unmatched efficiency. However, to circumvent chemical incompatibilities between the microbial cells and inorganic materials that result in toxicity, corrosion, fouling, and efficiency-degrading cross-reactions between oxidation and reduction environments, bioelectrochemical systems physically separate the microbial and inorganic catalysts by macroscopic distances, thus introducing ohmic losses, rendering these systems impractical at scale. Here we electrochemically couple an inorganic catalyst, a SnO 2 anode, with a microbial catalyst, Shewanella oneidensis, via a 2-nm-thick silica membrane containing -CN and -NO 2 functionalized p-oligo(phenylene vinylene) molecular wires. This membrane enables electron flow at 0.51 μA cm -2 from microbial catalysts to the inorganic anode, while blocking small molecule transport. Furthermore the modular architecture avoids chemical incompatibilities without ohmic losses and introduces an immense design space for scale up of bioelectrochemical systems.
Authors:
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ; ORCiD logo [4] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Molecular Foundry Div., Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
  2. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Div., Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
  3. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Div., Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.; Ben-Gurion Univ. of the Negev Be'er Sheva, Beersheba (Israel). Dept. of Chemical Engineering
  4. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Div., Molecular Foundry Div., and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231
Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 1; Related Information: © 2018 The Author(s).; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
OSTI Identifier:
1440377
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1460352