Mixed receptors of AMPA and NMDA emulated using a ‘Polka Dot’-structured two-dimensional conjugated polymer-based artificial synapse†
In a biological synapse, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptors mediate fast excitatory neurotransmission, whereas N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors trigger an enhanced memory effect; the complementary roles of AMPA and NMDA are essential in short-term plasticity (STP) to enhance memory effect (EME) transition. Herein, we report the design and fabrication of the first two-dimensional (2D) conjugated polymer (CP)-based synaptic transistor. The special design of the 2D CP with nanoscale-segregated ‘polka dot’-structured crystalline phases and adjacent amorphous phases emulate the different receptors of NMDA and AMPA on the postsynaptic membrane for the first time. The synergistic effect of mixed receptors distinguishes STP and enhanced memory effect with a critical point, which regulates the threshold level of the enhanced memory effect induction. This effect has not been reported yet. The special structure avoids easy saturation of a single receptor with consecutively increased excitatory postsynaptic current (EPSC) in response to 1200 stimuli. Furthermore, the 2D P3HT synapse successfully emulates activity-dependent synaptic plasticity, such as metaplasticity and homeostatic plasticity, which are advanced forms of plasticity, allowing the self-adaptive ability of a synapse, but have rarely been reported.