An optically-gated AuNP–DNA protonic transistor
Bio-interface transistors, which manipulate the transportation of ions (i.e. protons), play an important role in bridging physical devices with biological functionalities, because electrical signals are carried by ions/protons in biological systems. All available ionic transistors use electrostatic gates to tune the ionic carrier density, which requires complicated interconnect wires. In contrast, an optical gate, which offers the advantages of remote control as well as multiple light wavelength selections, has never been explored for ionic devices. Here, we demonstrate a light-gated protonic transistor fabricated from an Au nanoparticle and DNA (AuNP–DNA) hybrid membrane. The device can be turned on and off completely by using light, with a high on/off current ratio of up to 2 orders of magnitude. Moreover, the device only responds to specific light wavelengths due to the plasmonic effect from the AuNPs, which enables the capability of wavelength selectivity. Our results open up new avenues for exploring remotely controlled ionic circuits, in vivo protonic switches, and other biomedical applications.