Biological Kerker Effect Boosts Light Collection Efficiency in Plants

Journal: Nano Letters

Published: 2019-10-09

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b02540

Affiliations: 9

Authors: 13

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Research Highlight

Mineral spheres make alpine plants better light harvesters

© Laszlo Podor/Getty

© Laszlo Podor/Getty

The mechanism by which tiny mineral spheres on the edges of leaves of some alpine plants redirect sunlight, boosting the light-harvesting ability of the plants, has been determined for the first time.

The mineral calcium carbonate occurs in various forms in nature. In several alpine plants belonging to the genus Saxifraga, it forms spheres that are several hundreds of nanometres across. Scientists have speculated that these spheres deflect light onto the leaves, but concrete evidence for this had been lacking.

Now, by performing spectroscopic measurements and numerical calculations, a team that included researchers at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University has revealed that the plants use an optical phenomenon known as the Kerker effect to channel more light to their leaves.

The researchers note that this strategy for enhancing light harvesting could be exploited in bioinspired photonic devices.

Supported content

  1. Nano Letters 19, 7062–7071 (2019). doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b02540
Institutions Share
Department of Physics and Engineering, ITMO University, Russia 0.27
School of Electrical Engineering, TAU, Israel 0.18
Center for Light Matter Interaction, TAU, Israel 0.18
St Petersburg Academic University - Nanotechnology Research and Education Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SPbAU RAS), Russia 0.15
Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU), Russia 0.08
Research Institute of Influenza, Russia 0.04
Research School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, TPU, Russia 0.04
Photon-N2, France 0.04
Center for Photonics and 2D Materials, MIPT, Russia 0.03

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