Biophotonics: A Nanophotonic Structure Containing Living Photosynthetic Bacteria

11 October 2017

View Journal Article / Working Paper

Photosynthetic organisms rely on a series of self-assembled nanostructures with tuned electronic energy levels in order to transport energy from where it is collected by photon absorption, to reaction centers where the energy is used to drive chemical reactions.

In the paper for the journal Small, David Coles, et al. place living photosynthetic bacteria into a photonic microcavity. The system is shown to enter a strong-coupling regime, whereby the cavity modifies the energy of the bacterial light harvesting system. The energy of light harvesting antennae can be tuned by changing the length of the optical cavity, while the bacteria remain alive.

It is believed that this is the first demonstration of the modification of energy levels within living biological systems using a photonic structure.