Solid State Technology and Devices Seminar

Taking electrons out of bioelectronics: transistors, ion channels, and shark’s electrosensors

Marco Rolandi, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz


1:00pm - 2:00pm

Location: 521 Hogan Room, Cory Hall

The quest for smaller and faster computing has mostly focused on controlling the flow of electrons and holes in nanoscale structures. In living systems, ionic and protonic currents affect physiological function. As such, ionic and protonic devices offer exciting opportunities for bioelectronics. Proton transport in nature is important for ATP oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria, light activated proton pumping in bacteriorhodopsin, and the antibiotic gramicidin. All these systems have in common networks of hydrogen bonds formed by water and biomolecules − proton wires. Protons hop along these wires according to the Grotthuss mechanism. In analogy with dopants in electronic semiconductors, in proton wires acids are H+ ¬¬ donors and bases are H+ acceptors to yield H+ and OH- (proton hole) conductors. I will discuss bioprotonic devices with biopolymer H+ and OH- conductors such as diodes, complementary transistors, resistive memories, which can be easily integrated in a flexible platform. These devices communicate with enzymes, ion channels, and cells to monitor and control physiological function. Finally, I will provide insights in the electrosensing organs of sharks and skates.

  • Sponsor:

    Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS)
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