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AFM topography scan of pentace – protein transistor based biosensor

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The research activities are carried out in two fields: in the field of organic electronics the main topic are electronic properties of materials that are interesting as components of organic solar cells and organic thin film transistors. In the field of biophysics the main topic is coupling between proteins and organic semiconductors for biosensor applications. Within the framework of thin films of organic semiconductors we are using vacuum evaporation and spin coating of small-molecule semiconductors and semiconducting polymers, respectively. Morphology is studied by an atomic force microscope VEECO CP II that allows us also to investigate electrical conductivity between the microscope tip and the sample. In addition, through the use of lock-in amplifier we can probe the distribution of the electric field across the sample surface (Kelvin probe microscopy).

The projects in the area of organic solar cells include optimization and development of new methods for deposition of polymer blends for large area applications, research of alternative acceptor materials and studies of stability of the interface between the metal and organic semiconductor. In the area of organic thin film transistors we are interested in evolution of electronic properties as a function of the layer thickness. For this purpose we have developed a dedicated sample holder that allows us to measure the electric current during the growth of organic semiconductor in-between the two metallic contacts. A special attention is also devoted to the studies of initial stages of growth of pentacene on different substrates.

One of the goals of the biophysical research is integration of protein molecules and electronic elements that function on the basis of organic semiconductors. As the protein molecules are exposed to a target molecule, their electornic properties change and we are aiming towards detection of such changes. Such hybrid electronic elements will act as biosensors.