Chlorosomes are one of the characteristic light-harvesting antennas from green sulfur bacteria. These complexes represent a unique paradigm: self-assembly of bacteriochlorophyll pigments within a lipid monolayer without the influence of protein. Because of their large size and reduced complexity, they have been targeted as models for the development of bioinspired light-harvesting arrays. We report the production of biohybrid light-harvesting nanocomposites mimicking chlorosomes, composed of amphiphilic diblock copolymer membrane bodies that incorporate thousands of natural self-assembling bacteriochlorophyll molecules derived from green sulfur bacteria. The driving force behind the assembly of these polymer-chlorosome nanocomposites is the transfer of the mixed raw materials from the organic to the aqueous phase. We incorporated up to five different self-assembling pigment types into single nanocomposites that mimic chlorosome morphology. We establish that the copolymer-BChl self-assembly process works smoothly even when non-native combinations of BChl homologues are included. Spectroscopic characterization revealed that the different types of self-assembling pigments participate in ultrafast energy transfer, expanding beyond single chromophore constraints of the natural chlorosome system. This study further demonstrates the utility of flexible short-chain, diblock copolymers for building scalable, tunable light-harvesting arrays for technological use and allows for an in vitro analysis of the flexibility of natural self-assembling chromophores in unique and controlled combinations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces