One of the major drawbacks of solar power generation remains the high cost of raw materials needed to manufacture photovoltaic cells.
A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, taking their cue from nature, have released a new study that shows that organic materials can be used to conduct electricity and emit different colors of light. The researchers took their inspiration from natural materials such as bone, which is a matrix of non-organic minerals and other substances, including living cells, and have managed to stimulate bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots. These “living materials” combine the advantages of live cells, which respond to their environment, produce complex biological molecules, and span multiple length scales, with the benefits of inorganic materials, which add functions such as conducting electricity or emitting light. . . .