Bio-electronics

I recently attended a very stimulating talk about advancements being made in both organic and bio electronics. This research has momentous implications in many fields such as prosthetics, implants and even AI. What I learned to my delight is the differnece between electronics and bioelectronics.  In an electrical circuit we typically have a flow of electrons which are easily coaxed into flowing along metal wires. In organic electronics we are lacking in bloch states but we are rife with conjugation. In a conjugated polymer all the double bonds have the effectof delocalising some of the electrons. This delocalisation leadsto conductance and plastic circuitry is being developed which will bring about and has already brought about flexible displays, flexible circuitry. It is lightweight and can be recycled. Personally I study the photovoltaic element but everywhere a metal circuit is used an organic circuit can take its place. The problem is efficiency and lifetime..

On the other hand, in biological systems we also have charged particles carrying information around, from the brain between the cells, everywhere. Why can’t we just have circuits implanted in our brains to make us better at math, cooking or yoga? The reason is the incompatability. In biological systems the current is comprised of positively charged ions or even protons flowing. Recently an interesting polymer came into the limelight: PCDTBT.

This new polymer has the conjugated features we just discussed but it also can be readily ionised allowing the polymer to act as a go between for electricity made up electrons and electricity made up of positive ions. This groundbreaking discovery is leading to much excitment and research and it is only a matter of time before we can surf the internet within our heads. The future is coming!

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