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
Tel Aviv University (TAU), Israel 0.36
ITMO National Research University (ITMO University), Russia 0.27
Saint Petersburg Academic University (SPbAU RAS), Russia 0.15
Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU), Russia 0.08
Research Institute of Influenza, Russia 0.04
Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU), Russia 0.04
Photon-N2, France 0.04
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology - State University (MIPT), Russia 0.03