Artificial photosynthetic structures that mimic their natural counterparts, such as those seen in plants, are reported in Nature Communications this week. The structures harvest light energy to convert water to hydrogen gas, which could potentially be collected and used as a fuel.
Xinchen Wang and co-workers synthesised hollow nanospheres that mimic the photosynthetic structures found in the leaves of plants. The photosynthetic structures aim to optimise the capture and distribution of light. They are produced from a robust semiconducting material and catalyse the production of hydrogen from water using visible light irradiation to drive the process.
Much previous research has centred on the production of catalysts to produce hydrogen gas from water, but it is hoped that taking inspiration from nature may hasten the practical and commercial implementation of artificial photosynthesis.