Proton Conducting Devices and Materials
Josberger, Erik Edward
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The flow of protons is vital in biology, driving natural processes like the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (1). Micro-scale fluctuations in pH can provide insight into neural activity and regulate cellular activity (2, 3), and antibiotics like gramicidin destroy cells by rapidly conducting protons across the cell membrane (4). However, modern electron-based devices are limited to only the subset of biochemical reactions that can be controlled by electron motion. I have researched a broad variety of protonic systems, with the aim of enabling a direct interface between protons and electrons. Throughout, I utilize palladium hydride (PdH) as a proton-electron transducer. In this work, I present my efforts to measure and control the flow of protons. Here, I develop a protonic toolset with devices ranging from complementary transistors to depletion-based memory devices. In addition, I present new understandings of the PdH-material interface, and characterize a novel protonic material. Finally, I describe initial efforts to create carbon nanotube protonic devices. These results represent new opportunities for the measurement and control of protons in bioelectronics.
- Electrical engineering