Bioconjugation of hydrogen-bonded organic semiconductors with functional proteins†
We demonstrate the direct bioconjugation of hydrogen-bonded organic semiconductors with two different complex functional proteins in an aqueous environment. The representative semiconductors are epindolidione and quinacridone, materials used in devices in the form of vacuum-evaporated polycrystalline films. First, these molecules in thin films react spontaneously with N-hydroxysuccinimide functionalized linkers: disuccinimidyl suberate and succinimidyl biotinate. The suberate linker is then used to covalently bind the Rhodobacter sphaeroides reaction centre (RC), the key photoenzyme for conversion of light into electrical charges in photosynthetic bacteria. Similarly, the biotin linker is used to bridge streptavidin to the surface of the hydrogen-bonded semiconductor film. Multiple-reflection infrared spectroscopy, water contact angle measurements, and atomic force microscopy are used to verify surface functionalization. The presence and functional integrity of the immobilized proteins are demonstrated by specific experiments: a charge recombination kinetics assay in the case of the RC, and photoluminescence measurements for quantum dot-labelled streptavidin. As key results of our work, we have shown that upon bioconjugation, the semiconductors preserve their favourable electrical properties: as evidenced by photoconductor devices operating under water sensitized by the RC, and thin film transistor measurements before and after bioconjugation. These are enabling steps for using hydrogen-bonded semiconductors as platforms for multifunctional bioelectronics devices.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Bioelectronics