Protein-based materials for bioelectronics: From the single molecular level to 3D structures

David Wang Auditorium, 3rd floor Dalia Maydan Bldg.
Dr. Nadav Amdursky, Invited Speaker

Dr. Nadav Amdursky, Invited Speaker

Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, Technion

In the course of evolution nature has perfected itself to transfer electrical charges for long distances. Accordingly, much scientific effort has been employed in order to integrate the biological building blocks in bioelectronics devices, or to utilize these building blocks to form new bioinspired materials with superior conductivity properties. Here we present a new biological candidate for the use in electronic devices. We chose serum albumin (SA) as the basic material to work with. SA is the most abundant protein in the serum, and it is the cheapest protein that one can purchase commercially in large quantities. SA is a rather large protein (~67 KDa) and has no role in natural charge transfer chains. We show that while the electrical conductivity via a single SA (in a monolayer configuration) is poor, it can be enhanced by orders of magnitude by doping the protein with conjugated molecules. Following the doping process, the electrical conductivity via SA can be comparable or even superior to natural charge transfer proteins. We further show that SA can form 3D structures, from nm-scaled to macroscopic structures. In this context, we show that SA can self-assemble to form nm-scaled fibrils, thin films, macroscopic tubular-based thick mats and hydrogels. Except the latter, all of the structures can endure heating above 100°C. However, and most importantly, all of the structures can be doped with conductive dopants in order to tune the charge transfer efficiency through the bioinspired material. The ability to use highly cheap biological material with a wide variety of morphologies, that can endure heating, and with tuneable electrical properties, make the SA-based structures an exciting new material for the integration in electronic devices. In our group we focus mainly on its use as a tissue-engineering platform. 

Host: Yachin Ivry