The EU priority action lines state the need of low-cost production and efficient consumption of electricity, while the EU Sustainable Development Strategy Commission strongly encourages the further advance of PVs and LEDs following the “green photonics” concept: development of eco-friendly and highly stable materials for an efficient generation and use of the energy.
In this context, the use of bio-molecules as operational compounds is a major challenge. The major limitation is their quick denaturation caused by light and temperature stress under device fabrication and operation conditions. However, their distinctive ecological features, such as unlimited low-cost production using bacteria and/or fully recyclable nature, strongly encourage their use as a model of sustainability. These limitations are also noted in bio-diagnosis, phototherapy, and bio-reactors. Here, stability and access of active bio-compounds is critical, hampering the commercial jump of many approaches. In addition, the working conditions also require low temperatures and irradiations.
The problem statement relates to an urgent need for effective strategies to use biomolecules directly extracted from bacteria as functional components for developing sustainable and stable medical and energy-related technologies. This approach must ensure an excellent stability of the biofunctionality under storage and device operation conditions and the use of 3D substrates and/or miniaturization.
This Spanish research institute has developed both, a family of flexible and rigid polymer coatings, in which fluorescent proteins (FPs) and enzymes are easily introduced as well as a dehydration process further transform the coatings into a rubber/rigid material without chemical cross-linking. In all cases, the bio-functionality is surprisingly preserved over years under ambient conditions and several months under device/reactor operation conditions.
The device applications involve:
i) color filters for color down-conversion applications in lighting – LEDs replacing current IP and displays replacing toxic Cd QDs,
ii ) biodiagnosis replacing substrates to stabilize active compounds, iii) bioreactors in continuous flow ,
iv) coating for solar concentrators, and
v) medical devices for phototherapy treatments.
The research center is searching for potential partners from the intelligent energy, biochemical and materials sectors to establish license agreements, preferably industry, and research cooperation agreements also open to academic and other research organisatios.