Solid-State and Nanotechnology
Biotronics Biotechnology for Electronic and Photonic Applications
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Biotronics is the development and implementation of a new class of polymers that possess unique optical and electromagnetic properties that no other known polymer has. They have already demonstrated significant improvements in electronic and optoelectronic device performance. These non fossil fuel-based photonic and electronic Biopolymer materials, derived from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) biowaste and silk, are abundant, inexpensive and green materials that will not deplete our natural resources or harm the environment. They have the potential to compete with, or maybe someday even replace, fossil fuel-based plastics for applications ranging from eyeglasses to the higher technology applications light emitting diodes, transistors and solar cells. Preliminary in-house research in this area started around 1999 and since then low optical losses of < 0.5dB/cm over a broad wavelength have been achieved, electrical conductivities 3-10 orders of magnitude higher than other polymer materials have also been achieved and they are tunable. Their microwave losses are also lower than other polymers, making them very attractive for high speed electro-optic devices. Used as cladding layers in nonlinear polymer-based electro optic modulators a significant reduction in the overall optical insertion loss of these devices has been achieved, dropping from 15 dB to 10dB, or a 3X improvement. The first all-DNA electro-optic modulator, with significantly lower losses than current polymer EO modulators has also been demonstrated and has the potential for operating at significantly lower power. Using another DNA-based Biopolymer for an electron-blocking layer in an organic light emitting diode (OLED), the first red, blue and green Bio-Organic LEDs were demonstrated that were as much as 30X brighter and operated at 10X higher efficiency and 3X longer lifetimes compared with OLED's without the Biopolymer electron-blocking layer. Using a DNA-based Biopolymer for the gate dielectric layer in an organic field effect transistor (OFET), the first Bio-Organic FET was demonstrated that operated at nearly an order of magnitude lower gate voltage compared with OFETs using the commonly used dielectric polymers for the gate dielectric. Using Biopolymers as host materials, a significant increase the photoluminescence of fluorescent materials by as much as 100 times has been achieved, when compared with other commonly used polymer hosts. This suggests significantly increased device efficiencies, higher outputs, lower operating powers and longer lifetimes. The first organic thin film transistor (OTFT) using a conductive polymer doped Biopolymer for the semiconductor region (Bio-Organic TFT) has been demonstrated with a competitive carrier mobility of other organic semiconductor devices but at 10X lower cost. This new Biotronics technology shows great promise for a number of both photonic and electronic applications, with demonstrated increase in device performance. This opens up a whole new field for bioengineering, in addition to the current genomic sequencing and clinical diagnosis and treatment applications. Where silicon is today's fundamental building block for inorganic electronics and photonics, Biopolymers hold promise to become tomorrow's fundamental building block for organic photonics and electronics.
Dr. James G. Grote is a Principal Electronics Research Engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he conducts research in polymer and biopolymer based opto-electronics. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Dayton and University of Cincinnati. Dr. Grote received his BS degree in Electrical Engineering for Ohio University and both his MS and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Dayton, with partial study at the University of California, San Diego. He was a visiting scholar at the Institut d'Optique, Universite de Paris, Sud in the summer of 1995 and a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California, the University of California in Los Angeles and the University of Washington in 2001. He received Doctor Honoris Causa from the Politehnica University of Bucharest in 2010. Dr. Grote is an Air Force Research Laboratory Fellow, a Fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA), a Fellow of the European Optical Society (EOS) and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has co-authored more than 130 journal and conference papers, including a book chapter, and has served as editor for more than 25 conference proceedings and journal publications. Dr. Grote has presented over 120 papers and seminars, many of which have been keynote or invited. He has also co-authored 7 patents. Dr. Grote has served as Chair for numerous international symposiums and conferences.