Researchers are developing thin films, which are elements of biomolecular electronics.
Modern electronics are approaching the limits of their capabilities, which are defined by the fundamental laws of physics. Therefore, the use of classic materials, for example, silicon, can no longer meet the energy efficiency requirements of devices. At the moment, it is imperative to start looking for new materials and new principles for the work of electronic devices. To solve this problem, researchers from the St. Petersburg University of Applied Arts are developing thin films, which are elements of biomolecular electronics. Scientists believe that large biological molecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, and amino acids could become a promising material for modern electronics. You acquire many unique properties, for example, the ability to self-organize, which is why molecules can be grouped into specific structures, for example, in biomolecular films.
Our scientific group is studying various properties of thin films based on the protein of albumin. In the course of the experiments, we dilute the protein at different concentrations and use the isothermal drying method (evaporation of water at a specific temperature and pressure) to form biomolecular membranes. Depending on the composition of the primary samples and the drying parameters, we obtain different structures within the films, ”notes Maxim Baranov, Associate at SPbPU Higher School of Applied Physics and Space Technologies.
Using light microscopy, the scientists have fixed the structures within the dried albumin proteins and have also developed a program in Python, which can isolate and analyze biomolecular film images with the help of a special mathematical apparatus. Molecular modeling to solve this problem is being implemented in the facilities of the “Polytechnic” supercomputer center. The research results were published in the first quarter symmetry By MDPI.
Maxim Baranov adds: “Semiconductor integrated circuits, currently used in electronic devices, have a fixed configuration. In contrast, the work of proteins depends on dynamics, that is, the biological system can transform in the process of interaction with other organisms. Therefore, molecules can completely repeat the structure. However, we expect fewer defects in biomolecular thin films. We cannot say that the biomolecular platform will completely replace classical semiconductor devices. Rather, we are talking about their coexistence. You think. Our scientific group states that thin films will not be offered in the mass market of electronics, but rather in individual applications.
According to the scientists, different types of proteins can be used for further research, including plant proteins. Perhaps in the future, it will simplify the creation of biomolecular thin films. At the moment, it is necessary to construct a certain set of mathematical parameters in order to obtain a more accurate description of thin films and their properties. A large number of experiments will be carried out before creating a prototype of the element, which can be implemented in the future equipment.