Chitosan to Connect Biology to Electronics: Fabricating the Bio-Device Interface and Communicating Across This Interface Academic Article uri icon


  • Individually, advances in microelectronics and biology transformed the way we live our lives. However, there remain few examples in which biology and electronics have been interfaced to create synergistic capabilities. We believe there are two major challenges to the integration of biological components into microelectronic systems: (i) assembly of the biological components at an electrode address, and (ii) communication between the assembled biological components and the underlying electrode. Chitosan possesses a unique combination of properties to meet these challenges and serve as an effective bio-device interface material. For assembly, chitosan's pH-responsive film-forming properties allow it to " recognize " electrode-imposed signals and respond by self-assembling as a stable hydrogel film through a cathodic electrodeposition mechanism. A separate anodic electrodeposition mechanism was recently reported and this also allows chitosan hydrogel films to be assembled at an electrode address. Protein-based biofunctionality can be conferred to electrodeposited films through a variety of physical, chemical and biological methods. For communication, we are investigating redox-active catechol-modified chitosan films as an interface to bridge redox-based communication between biology and an electrode. Despite significant progress over the last decade, many questions still remain which warrants even deeper study of chitosan's structure, properties, and functions.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014