Bioelectronics: It's electrifying

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    Credit: J. MARTINEZ, N. MISRA, A. NOY AND S. DOUGHERTY (LLNL)

    Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA doi:10.1073/pnas.0904850106 (2009)

    Ions and membranes — common biological signal transducers — have been combined with electronic circuitry.

    Aleksandr Noy of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and his team insulated 20–40-nanometre-wide silicon nanowire transistors by coating them with lipid membranes (pictured), then added proteins that formed channels through the membranes. A flow of ions through the membrane pores triggered an electrical response in the nanowire. Conversely, by applying an electric field using the wire, the researchers could open and close the membrane's protein channels.

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    Bioelectronics: It's electrifying. Nature 460, 934 (2009) doi:10.1038/460934d

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