One of the annoying things that happens when you track developing science is that you keep seeing interesting results on a topic, but none of them quite reaches the significance to justify a news story. This week, another paper that fit the description came to my attention. Again, these particular results weren't especially exciting, but I've decided it gives me an excuse to introduce you to an interesting and potentially significant area of chemistry.
The area of research that keeps grabbing my attention is a fusion of photovoltaic technology and biochemistry. Photovoltaics are useful because they provide a way to conveniently liberate some electrons. And a lot of enzymes work because they do interesting things with electrons they obtain from other molecules. So, in theory, it should be possible to use a photovoltaic device to supply an enzyme what it needs to catalyze useful reactions. And, in many cases, reality matches up nicely with theory.
The new paper focuses on using photovoltaic nanoparticles to drive an enzyme that uses carbon dioxide, incorporating it into a larger molecule. But the researchers behind it also discover the process doesn't work especially efficiently, and they make some progress toward figuring out why.
Source: Ars Technica