Project Overview

Biological Materials for Electronic Devices and Functional Surfaces

Faculty Sponsor

Ramesh Adhikari (


Physics and Astronomy


We seek applications from students interested in carrying out electrical measurements and surface imaging to help develop devices from materials of biological origin of the following kinds:  
Leaf-based Devices: Leaves are abundant around us and rich in their forms. They come in various shapes and sizes, have different cross-sectional morphology, and embed various architectures of vascular channels. By using polymeric materials as fillers within the air gaps inside the leaves, students will work towards developing resistive switching devices, triboelectric nanogenerators, and organic electrochemical transistors based on leaves. Electrochemical resistive switching devices can function as sensors or could be building blocks for next-generation memory devices for neuromorphic computing. Triboelectric nanogenerators generate electrical energy from mechanical motion. Organic electrochemical transistors can be used as biological and chemical environmental sensors. Therefore, these developments will help us develop ‘green’ functional devices that minimize environmental impact and also realize applications not possible using conventional silicon-based electronics.
Aromatic Amino Acid-based Materials: Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and aromatic amino acids are ones with aromatic rings on them. The aromatic rings act as sites for delocalized electrons. With the help of inherent charges and aromatic residues, amino acids can self-assemble into rigid nanowires or nanotubes when placed in a solution environment. One of the students working on this project will study the proton transport mechanism in these nanostructures. The second student will study the electrical and mechanical properties of the composites created by mixing these aromatic amino acids with conducting polymers. Understanding the properties of these novel materials will help us develop bio-based devices with reduced environmental footprint, that can interact seamlessly with biological tissues and posses functionalities to interact with their environment in ways that are not possible with conventional silicon-based electronics.
Students working on both of these projects will gain hands-on skills in device fabrication and electronic characterization.
In your application, please make sure to indicate whether you are interested in leaf-based electronics or aromatic amino acid-based materials.

Student Qualifications

Required student qualifications: Students willing to work on these projects should have the following qualifications:
  1. Should have some background in physics and/or chemistry.
  2. Have experience or a strong interest in working on experimental projects, especially those related to materials and/or devices.
  3. Be motivated, patient, meticulous, and willing to learn.

Number of Student Researchers

5 students

Project Length

8 weeks

Applications open on 10/03/2023 and close on 02/28/2024

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (