Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have developed a transistor, which they say could be a step toward making prosthetic devices that can be wired directly into a person's nervous system.
The transistor consists of a carbon nanotube that behaves like a semiconductor, bridging the gap between two metal electrodes and coated with an insulating polymer layer that leaves the middle section of the nanotube exposed. The entire device is then coated again, this time with a lipid bi-layer similar to those that form the membranes surrounding a human's cells. The researchers then applied a voltage across the transistor's electrodes and poured a solution containing adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This caused a current to flow through the electrodes, with a higher concentration of ATP resulting in a stronger current.
LLNL researcher Aleksandr Noy says this is the first example of an integrated bioelectronic system. "I hope that this type of technology could be used to construct seamless bioelectronic interfaces to allow better communication between living organisms and machines," Noy says.
From New Scientist
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