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Showing posts from September, 2009

Of Diatoms, Titanium Dioxide and A Bio-based Way to Increase Solar Power Efficiencies


It has been a while since last I discussed a scientific journal paper. The following post is based on a paper published in the American Chemical Society NANO Journal (Vol.2, No. 10, pp 2103-2112) with the title “Metabolic Insertion of Nanostructured TiO2 into the Patterned Biosilica of the Diatom Pinnulario sp. by a Two-Stage Bioreactor Culvtivation Process”.

What have they done?

The Rorrer lab is a nanotechnology/biotechnology engineering lab. They manipulate various microorganisms so that the microorganisms produce substances that are of use to human kind. Their latest series of publications has focused on diatoms which are single-celled algae that are able to make silica shells with very intricate patterns (see below). The Rorrer lab has a significant body of work inducing a particular diatom by the name of Pinnulario sp. to incorporate optoelectronic substances into its frustules (outer shells) that it normally would not. Optoelectronic substances can transform, transmit o…