At the Institute of Bioelectronics (PGI-8/ICS-8) at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers perform joint research on the scientific principles of the functional link between biological components and electronic components. This collaboration has led to the development of platforms for microfluidics, micro- and nano-patterning, and electronic biosensors. These technologies are not only developed to understand biological processes, but also pave the way for their application in sensor technology and diagnostics. With the advertised position we are planning to strengthen our research efforts to understand the biophysics of neuronal information processing.
A new transistor design, graphene-on-silicon field effect transistor (GoS-FET) has been recently introduced. The device possess the best qualities of two worlds: great transconductance of graphene and high (comparably) resistance of silicon. High resistance is important for correct operation of amplifier systems, such as source follower. Such devices have never been studied for their operation in liquid. In the proposed project we intend to fabricate the devices on a large scale first, analyse their performance (transconductance and noise) and perform electrophysiological recordings from heart tissue, HL-1 cells and finally neuronal cultures. In parallel, new forms of biosensors can be developed due to combinations of functional groups which could be attached to the surface of the device. We hope that GoS FETs are able to reduce problems intrinsic to silicon and graphene devices, while maintaining the good properties of both. Our silicon FETs suffer from slow charge carrier generation, high interface noise and low amplifications. Graphene yields fast charge carrier generation and high mobility, but the overall low impedance makes amplifier design difficult and stand-alone graphene suffers a lot from a lack of long-term in-situ stability.