Artificial photosynthesis (APS) mimics natural photosynthesis (NPS) to store solar energy into chemical compounds for the applications such as water splitting, CO2 fixation and coenzyme regeneration. In fact, the NPS is naturally an optofluidic system since the cells (typical size 10 to 100 µm) of green plants, algae, and cyanobacteria enable light capture, biochemical and enzymatic reactions and the related material transports in a microscale, aqueous environment. Long history of evolution has equipped the NPS with the remarkable merits such as large surface-area-to-volume ratio, fast diffusion of small molecule and precise control of mass transfer. The APS is expected to enjoy the same merits of NPS and even provides more functionalities if optofluidics technology is introduced. Recently, many studies have been reported on optofluidic APS systems. This talk will review recent progresses in water splitting, CO2 fixation and coenzyme regeneration, followed by the discussions of pending problems for real applications. There is still a large room for further improvement of the optofluidics-based artificial photosynthesis.
Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (61377068, 61361166004), Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (N_PolyU505/13, 5334/12E, 152184/15E and 509513), and Hong Kong Polytechnic University (G-YBPR, 4-BCAL, 1-ZVAW, 1-ZE14, A-PM21, 1-ZE27 and 1-ZVGH).