10 January 2017

Biofactories in artificial leaves

Dutch scientists have invented an "artificial leaf" capable of producing medicines in any conditions

Igor Abramov, GearMix, based on materials from Eindhoven University of Technology: Artificial leaf as mini-factory for medicine

Wouldn't it be wonderful if it were possible to synthesize the necessary drug in any place where the Sun shines, even while on another planet? A group of Dutch scientists from the Technical University of Eindhoven has created a device similar to an artificial leaf of a plant that is able to realize this idea.

Researchers have made an artificial structure in the image and likeness of real leaves, which are able to create food for themselves through photosynthesis. They used materials with a plant-like ability to capture and store solar energy for later use. These materials are called luminescent solar concentrators (LSC) and contain special light-sensitive molecules that can capture a huge amount of incoming sunlight.

Scientists have designed a device that looks like a leaf of a plant by introducing a system of special microchannels into the silicone shell of fluorescent concentrators that mimic the veins of a leaf. When liquid is injected into these channels, the molecules contained in it interact with sunlight absorbed by the LSC. The stored energy is large enough to trigger a chemical reaction.


According to the researchers, the efficiency of their device is 40 percent higher than that obtained during similar experiments without the use of LSC fluorescent concentrators.

"The use of such a reactor makes it possible to synthesize drugs in any conditions and in any place. Basically, you can make a cure for malaria in the jungle or paracetamol on Mars," said study leader Dr. Timothy Noel. "All you need for this is sunlight and our mini-factory."

Article by Cambié et al. A Leaf-Inspired Luminescent Solar Concentrator for Energy-Efficient Continuous-Flow Photochemistry is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie – VM.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  10.01.2017

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