Biomimetic, Polymeric Transistor-based Biosensor Technology (PNTFT)
Albert Pisano and Jim Chih-Min Cheng
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
The goal of this research is the creation of robust, flexible, polymer sensors and circuits fabricated in part from the low cost, biopolymer, chitosan--the deacetylated form of chitin which is the second most abundant polyssacharide in nature. Chitin is found in crustaceans, insects, bacteria, and fungi. The sensors will detect diatomic gases and DNA to more complex macro molecules (e.g., exotoxins) in a fluidic or dry environment. Polymer-nanoparticle (e.g., CdS) hybrid films allow for development of robust, polymer thin-film transistors and, with optimization of the hybrid film, sensitive photodetectors. These transistors will be developed into gas or chemical sensors through functionalization of the polymer active layer or dielectric with proteins specific to a target analyte. This technology will enable the development of integrated polymer sensors and electronics which are low-cost, robust, and highly versatile due to the replacement of semiconductor, dielectric, and possibly metal layers with polymers and minimal thermal budget.
Figure 1: Polymer-nanoparticle thin-film transistor--optical and electromechanical sensing modes