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Liquid–Solid Dual-Gate Organic Transistors with Tunable Threshold Voltage for Cell Sensing

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journal contribution
posted on 17.10.2017, 00:00 by Yu Zhang, Jun Li, Rui Li, Dan-Tiberiu Sbircea, Alexander Giovannitti, Junling Xu, Huihua Xu, Guodong Zhou, Liming Bian, Iain McCulloch, Ni Zhao
Liquid electrolyte-gated organic field effect transistors and organic electrochemical transistors have recently emerged as powerful technology platforms for sensing and simulation of living cells and organisms. For such applications, the transistors are operated at a gate voltage around or below 0.3 V because prolonged application of a higher voltage bias can lead to membrane rupturing and cell death. This constraint often prevents the operation of the transistors at their maximum transconductance or most sensitive regime. Here, we exploit a solid–liquid dual-gate organic transistor structure, where the threshold voltage of the liquid-gated conduction channel is controlled by an additional gate that is separated from the channel by a metal-oxide gate dielectric. With this design, the threshold voltage of the “sensing channel” can be linearly tuned in a voltage window exceeding 0.4 V. We have demonstrated that the dual-gate structure enables a much better sensor response to the detachment of human mesenchymal stem cells. In general, the capability of tuning the optimal sensing bias will not only improve the device performance but also broaden the material selection for cell-based organic bioelectronics.

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