Assistant professors Dr Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay and Dr Imran Pancha from the Department of Physics and the Department of Biological Sciences, respectively, along with Ms Ashwini Nawade, a PhD student of the Department of Physics, have developed a method to integrate plant proteins in the solid-state electronic circuits and utilize the biological functionality to produce a thin film, cost-effective photodetector. Their paper entitled Electron Transport across Phycobiliproteins Films and its’ Optoelectronic Properties has been published in the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology with an Impact Factor of 2.07. It is an interdisciplinary research project between the Department of Biotechnology and Physics.
Explanation of the research
Biomolecules such as proteins, peptides being the most crucial life-forms, have an intimate relationship with various life activities for biological functions. The contemporary work with biomolecules mainly focuses on its evolving potential associated with nanoscale electronics where proteins and peptides are integrated as sensing materials. The researchers explored the optoelectronics functionality of combined proteins known as phycobiliproteins. They investigated electron transport behavior across the phycobiliproteins films under dark and white light illumination. The research affirms that the photochemical activity of the protein is more stable in a solid-state/ thin-film with tightly bonded water molecules than its presence in a buffer solution. Furthermore, the studies demonstrate that phycobiliproteins films modulate their electrical conductivity within their different conformation states. Researchers speculate that the electrical conductance variation could originate from the chemical alteration of cysteine-conjugated bilin chromophores to protein and the electrostatic environment around the chromophores.
The research explores the photochemical properties and electrical transport efficiency of phycobiliproteins (PBPs) films. In addition, it investigates the optoelectronics functionality of PBPs films by studying electron transport behavior across the protein films under a dark state and white light illumination. The researchers proposed to develop a photodetector with the protein film in the future.