Uncovering the Use of Fucoxanthin and Phycobiliproteins into Solid Matrices to Increase Their Emission Quantum Yield and Photostability


In the search for a better and brighter future, the use of natural luminescent renewable materials as substitutes for synthetic ones in the energy field is of prime importance. The incorporation of natural pigments (e.g., xanthophylls and phycobiliproteins) is a fundamental step in a broad spectrum of applications that are presently marred by their limited stability. The incorporation of bio-based luminescent molecules into solid matrices allows the fabrication of thin films, which may dramatically increase the range of applications, including sustainable photovoltaic systems, such as luminescent solar concentrators or downshifting layers. In this work, we incorporated R-phycoerythrin (R-PE), C-phycocyanin (C-PC), and fucoxanthin (FX) into poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and studied their optical properties. It was found that the emission and excitation spectra of the phycobiliproteins and FX were not modified by incorporation into the PVA matrix. Moreover, in the case of FX, the emission quantum yield (eta) values also remained unaltered after incorporation, showing the suitability of the PVA as a host matrix. A preliminary photostability study was performed by exposing the solid samples to continuous AM1.5G solar radiation, which evidenced the potential of these materials for future photovoltaics.

subject category

Chemistry; Engineering; Materials Science; Physics


Dias, LMS; Kovaleski, G; Fu, LS; Dias, TR; Macario, IPE; Correia, SFH; Pereira, JL; Coutinho, JAP; Ventura, SPM; Ferreira, RAS

our authors


This work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials (UIDB/50011/2020, UIDP/50011/2020 & LA/P/0006/2020), Instituto de Telecomunicacoes (UID/EEA/50008/2021), CESAM (UIDP/50017/2020+UIDB/50017/2020+LA/P/0094/2020), SOLPOWINS-Solar-Powered SmartWindows for Sustainable Buildings (PTDC/CTM-REF/4304/2020), and REFINECYANO-Using biorefinery to value cyanobacteria pigments (PTDC/BTA-BTA/30914/2017), financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC and when appropriate co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership through European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the frame of Operational Competitiveness and Internationalization Programme (POCI). I.P.E.M. and G.K. would like to thank Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia for the doctoral grants SFRH/BD/123850/2016 and BD/REITORIA/9328/2020, respectively. S.F.H.C. would like to thank the European Space Agency (ESA STAR AO 2-1790/21/NL/GLC/ov). AMP Botas is acknowledged for preliminary optical measurements.

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