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Nat Commun. 2011 Sep 20;2:476. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1489.

A polysaccharide bioprotonic field-effect transistor.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


In nature, electrical signalling occurs with ions and protons, rather than electrons. Artificial devices that can control and monitor ionic and protonic currents are thus an ideal means for interfacing with biological systems. Here we report the first demonstration of a biopolymer protonic field-effect transistor with proton-transparent PdH(x) contacts. In maleic-chitosan nanofibres, the flow of protonic current is turned on or off by an electrostatic potential applied to a gate electrode. The protons move along the hydrated maleic-chitosan hydrogen-bond network with a mobility of ~4.9×10(-3) cm(2) V(-1) s(-1). This study introduces a new class of biocompatible solid-state devices, which can control and monitor the flow of protonic current. This represents a step towards bionanoprotonics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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