Journal article

Nanosized Optoelectronic Devices Based on Photoactivated Proteins

Molecular nanoelectronics is attracting much attention, because of the possibility to add functionalities to silicon-based electronics by means of intrinsically nanoscale biological or organic materials. The contact point between active molecules and electrodes must present, besides nanoscale size, a very low resistance. To realize Metal-Molecule-Metal junctions it is, thus, mandatory to be able to control the formation of useful nanometric contacts. The distance between the electrodes has to be of the same size of the molecule being put in between. Nanogaps technology is a perfect fit to fulfill this requirement. In this work, nanogaps between gold electrodes have been used to develop optoelectronic devices based on photoactive proteins. Reaction Centers (RC) and Bacteriorhodopsin (BR) have been inserted in nanogaps by drop casting. Electrical characterizations of the obtained structures were performed. It has been demonstrated that these nanodevices working principle is based on charge separation and photovoltage response. The former is induced by the application of a proper voltage on the RC, while the latter comes from the activation of BR by light of appropriate wavelengths.

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