Exploring cable bacteria's electrical conductivity for biodegradable electronic devices.

Recently, an entirely novel type of bacteria has been discovered that can guide high electrical currents over centimeter-long distances through long, thin fibers embedded in the cell envelope. Recent studies by PRINGLE consortium members reveal that these protein fibers possess extraordinar electrical properties, including an electrical conductivity that exceeds that of any known biological material by orders of magnitude. The ambition of PRINGLE is to unlock the vast technological potential of this newly discovered biomaterial. To this end, we propose to utilize custom-crafted protein structures as elementary active and passive components in a new generation of biocompatible and biodegradable electronic devices. The resulting long-term technological vision is to establish a radically new type of electronics (PROTEONICS) that is entirely bio-based and CO2 neutral, and in which protein components can provide different types of electronic functionality. PRINGLE will provide the fundamental and technological basis for PROTEONICS by:

  1. Developing fabrication and patterning technologies for proteonic materials and nanostructures.
  2. Tuning the electronic properties of these proteonic materials in a fit-for-purpose manner.
  3. Integrating proteonic materials as functional components into all-protein electronic devices.

As such, PRINGLE-based technology could provide a significant breakthrough towards next generation electronics applications in a circular economy, opening entirely new avenues for interfacing biological systems with electronics and allowing completely new sustainable production and recycling pathways for electronic components.

COORDINATOR: University of Antwerp

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