Proteins as electronic materials: Electron transport through solid-state protein monolayer junctions

Izhar Ron, Lior Sepunaru, Stella Ltzhakov, Tatyana Belenkova, Noga Friedman, Israel Pecht, Mordechal Sheves, David Cahen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Electron transfer (ET) through proteins, a fundamental element of many biochemical reactions, is studied Intensively in aqueous solutions. Over the past decade, attempts were made to Integrate proteins into solid-state Junctions in order to study their electronic conductance properties. Most such studies to date were conducted with one or very few molecules In the Junction, using scanning probe techniques. Here we present the high-yield, reproducible preparation of large-area monolayer Junctions, assembled on a Si platform, of proteins of three different families: azurln (Az), a blue-copper ET protein, bacterlorhodopsln (bR), a membrane proteln-chromophore complex with a proton pumping function, and bovine serum albumin (BSA). We achieve highly reproducible electrical current measurements with these three types of monolayers using appropriate top electrodes. Notably, the current-voltage (i-V) measurements on such Junctions show relatively minor differences between Az and bR, even though the latter lacks any known ET function. Electron Transport (ETp) across both Az and bR is much more efficient than across BSA, but even for the latter the measured currents are higher than those through a monolayer of organic, C18 alkyl chains that is about half as wide, therefore suggesting transport mechanlsm(s) different from the often considered coherent mechanism. Our results show that the employed proteins maintain their conformation under these conditions. The relatively efficient ETp through these proteins opens up possibilities for using such blomolecules as current-carrying elements in solid-state electronic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4131-4140
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - 31 Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


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