Feeds

Antibody transistor grabs gold

Immune system response self-assembles electronic connection

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The immune system response in which antibodies bind to specific molecules they recognize has been exploited to create a self-assembling protein-based transistor.

The Taiwanese researchers claiming the breakthrough say it could help overcome a difficult hurdle in the world of organic electronics: providing a repeatable way to “connect” organic molecules to electrical signals, without degrading the molecules.

The work, by Yu-Shiun Chen, Meng-Ye Hong and G. Steven Huang of the National Chiao Tung University, covers the three top-line items that constitute a transistor: it’s got a source and drain, with usable and convenient connections, and it can be gated using an applied voltage.

Organic molecular electronics is a popular research field, both for those trying to continue extending the lifetime of Moore’s Law and for research into flexible circuits. However, while organic molecules can be made to behave like electronic gates, it’s difficult to create repeatable connections to them without damaging the molecule.

The antibodies bind to gold nanoparticles to

create the protein-based transistor. Source: Nature

The self-assembly technique provides an approach that could solve this problem, the researchers say. They have isolated an immunoglobulin G antibody, whose particular characteristic is that it recognizes 5 nanometer-diameter gold nanoparticles.

As I understand it, the antibody then does what antibodies do: it binds to the target molecule (rather like a human anibody might bind to a rhinovirus to try and fight off a head cold). By binding to two gold nanoparticles, this “anti-nanoparticle” forms a junction that can be connected to the outside world.

When a voltage is applied to the device, the researchers say, it behaves like a transistor gate. Not only that: the researchers also say that “by attaching CdSe quantum dots to the antibody, we show that the protein transistor can also be gated by an applied optical field.”

The research is published in Nature (abstract). ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.