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A novel concept of photosynthetic soft membranes: a numerical study.

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Falciani, Gabriele 
Bergamasco, Luca 
Bonke, Shannon A 
Sen, Indraneel 
Chiavazzo, Eliodoro 


We focus on a novel concept of photosynthetic soft membranes, possibly able to allow the conversion of solar energy and carbon dioxide (CO[Formula: see text]) into green fuels. The considered membranes rely on self-assembled functional molecules in the form of soap films. We elaborate a multi-scale and multi-physics model to describe the relevant phenomena, investigating the expected performance of a single soft photosynthetic membrane. First, we present a macroscale continuum model, which accounts for the transport of gaseous and ionic species within the soap film, the chemical equilibria and the two involved photocatalytic half reactions of the CO[Formula: see text] reduction and water oxidation at the two gas-surfactant-water interfaces of the soap film. Second, we introduce a mesoscale discrete Monte Carlo model, to deepen the investigation of the structure of the functional monolayers. Finally, the morphological information obtained at the mesoscale is integrated into the continuum model in a multi-scale framework. The developed tools are then used to perform sensitivity studies in a wide range of possible experimental conditions, to provide scenarios on fuel production by such a novel approach.



Mass transfer, Photosynthetic membranes, Self-assembly, Soap films, Solar fuels, Surface science

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Nanoscale Res Lett

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
European Commission (828838)