R.N. Frese


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Raoul Frese, born Amsterdam 1969, studied physics at the University of Amsterdam and received his PhD at the VU University Amsterdam, supervisor Rienk van Grondelle. After a postdoc at the Twente University (nanobiophysics), he received a young investigator grant from the dutch science foundation (NWO-veni) to carry out his own research at the biophysics group at Leiden University. Frese became a research associate in the lab of Bob Niederman at Rutgers University (NJ, USA). After receiving an experienced investigator grant from NWO (Vidi) he and family returned to Amsterdam. At the VU University he has currently established his workgroup biohybrid solar cells where he and his team investigate the possibilities to interconnect photosynthetic materials to (semi-)conducting substrates for biosensors and solar energy harvesting.


Me and co-workers develop protocols for high resolution imaging of photosynthetic membranes. We generalise and select the correct AFM image from ensemble polarized spectroscopy measurements on intact membranes. Similar studies on mutants lacking one or two protein components lead to a detailed description of the supramolecular organization and packing effects within these membranes. That work lead to a general thermodynamic description of protein domain formation. Simulations based on colloidal theory show how membrane curvature is dependent on domain formation and how diffusive networks can be generated under packed conditions. Our control of photosynthetic membranes now extends beyond the cell, we can adhere membranes onto conducting surfaces and probe primary photoconversion reactions and cycle currents.


  • Dynamics Of Biomolecules and Cells
  • Biosolar Cells
  • Current Sustainable Energy Technologies
  • Fysica en medische fysica 1

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  • 18 Similar Profiles
Photosynthetic membranes Chemical Compounds
Photosynthesis Chemical Compounds
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Electrons Chemical Compounds
Stark effect Chemical Compounds
Proteins Chemical Compounds

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Research Output 1997 2018

  • 46 Article
  • 2 PhD Thesis - Research VU, graduation VU
  • 1 Chapter
  • 1 Review article

Between order and disorder: The supramolecular organization of photosynthetic membrane

Sznee, K. E., 2018, 145 p.

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD Thesis - Research VU, graduation VUAcademic

Open Access

Engineered photoproteins that give rise to photosynthetically-incompetent bacteria are effective as photovoltaic materials for biohybrid photoelectrochemical cells

Liu, J., Friebe, V. M., Swainsbury, D. J. K., Crouch, L. I., Szabo, D. A., Frese, R. N. & Jones, M. R., 1 Apr 2018, In : Faraday Discussions. 207, p. 307-327 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Luminescent Proteins
Photoelectrochemical cells
Energy conversion

Cytochrome c Provides an Electron-Funneling Antenna for Efficient Photocurrent Generation in a Reaction Center Biophotocathode

Friebe, V. M., Millo, D., Swainsbury, D. J. K., Jones, M. R. & Frese, R. N., 19 Jul 2017, In : ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. 9, 28, p. 23379-23388

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access

Hacking Photosynthesis

Friebe, V. M., 2017, 163 p.

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD Thesis - Research VU, graduation VUAcademic

Open Access

Photosynthetic reaction center-based biophotovoltaics

Friebe, V. M. & Frese, R. N., Oct 2017, In : CURRENT OPINION IN ELECTROCHEMISTRY. 5, 1, p. 126-134

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review