American Chemical Society
nn5b05752_si_001.pdf (2.75 MB)

Demonstration of Hole Transport and Voltage Equilibration in Self-Assembled π‑Conjugated Peptide Nanostructures Using Field-Effect Transistor Architectures

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-12-22, 00:00 authored by Kalpana Besar, Herdeline Ann M. Ardoña, John D. Tovar, Howard E. Katz
π-Conjugated peptide materials are attractive for bioelectronics due to their unique photophysical characteristics, biofunctional interfaces, and processability under aqueous conditions. In order to be relevant for electrical applications, these types of materials must be able to support the passage of current and the transmission of applied voltages. Presented herein is an investigation of both the current and voltage transmission activities of one-dimensional π-conjugated peptide nanostructures. Observations of the nanostructures as both semiconducting and gate layers in organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) were made, and the effect of systematic changes in amino acid composition on the semiconducting/conducting functionality of the nanostructures was investigated. These molecular variations directly impacted the hole mobility values observed for the nanomaterial active layers over 3 orders of magnitude (∼0.02 to 5 × 10–5 cm2 V–1 s–1) when the nanostructures had quaterthiophene cores and the assembled peptide materials spanned source and drain electrodes. Peptides without the quaterthiophene core were used as controls and did not show field-effect currents, verifying that the transport properties of the nanostructures rely on the semiconducting behavior of the π-electron core and not just ionic rearrangements. We also showed that the nanomaterials could act as gate electrodes and assessed the effect of varying the gate dielectric layer thickness in devices where the conventional organic semiconductor pentacene spanned the source and drain electrodes in a top-contact OFET, showing an optimum performance with 35–40 nm dielectric thickness. This study shows that these peptides that self-assemble in aqueous environments can be used successfully to transmit electronic signals over biologically relevant distances.