Cell bioelectronics

In recent years, the integration of biological components with electronics has progressed to a point where the interfacing of more complex biological systems such as living cells poses an enduring challenge on this path toward bioelectronics. A continuation of this trend could lead to the cure of illnesses with prostheses for organs such as the eye or ear, and to a more fundamental understanding of neuronal networks and eventually the brain. In the scope of this effort, cell–semiconductor interfaces have already been realized a number of times, the overwhelming majority of which are based on conventional silicon technology.

In our group we investigate the use of diamond- and graphene-based devices for cell bioelectronics. In the framework of the Diamond to Retina Artificial Microinterface Structures (DREAMS) project we focus on the fabrication of arrays of diamond-based solution gated field effect transistors for the electronic interfacing with nerve cells. Diamond is considered a particular promising candidate for bioelectronic applications due to its high chemical and electrochemical stability. Different surface functionalization procedures are applied in order to direct cell growth to the active areas of the transistor arrays. We are currently working on a miniaturization of diamond SGFETs down to the sub-micron regime for enhanced sensing performance.
Besides diamond, we are investigating the use of graphene for cell bioelectronics as it has similar properties to diamond and shows extremely high sensitivity to processes at its surface due to its true two-dimensionality. Additionally, graphene exhibits a facile integration with flexible substrates, and thus can have a great potential for applications on neural prostheses.


People on the project:

Markus Dankerl, Moritz Hauf, Lucas Hess, Benno Blaschke


Selected publications:

  • Diamond Transistor Array for Extracellular Recording From Electrogenic Cells
    M. Dankerl, S. Eick, B. Hofmann, M. Hauf, S. Ingedbrandt, A. Offenhäusser, M. Stutzmann, and J. A. Garrido
    Advanced Functional Materials 19, 1–9 (2009)
    Online Reference
  • Low-frequency noise in diamond solution-gated field effect transistors
    M. V. Hauf, L. H. Hess, J. Howgate, M. Dankerl, M. Stutzmann, and J. A. Garrido
    Applied Physics Letters 97, 093504 (2010)
    Online Reference
  • Graphene Transistor Arrays for Recording Action Potentials from Electrogenic Cells
    L. H. Hess, M. Jansen, V. Maybeck, M. V. Hauf, M. Seifert, M. Stutzmann, I. D. Sharp, A. Offenhäusser, J. A. Garrido
    Advanced Materials 23. 5045-5049 (2011)
    Online Reference



Prof. Andreas Offenhäusser, Forschungszentrum Jülich 

Serge Picaud, Centre de Recherche Institute la Vision, France



DREAMS, Nanosystems Initiative München (nim), Graduate School for Complex Interfaces (CompInt), DFG

TUM Technische Universität München TUM Technische Universität München Physik Department Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik TUM Technische Universität München

Upcoming Events

Benno Blaschke
Graphene SGFETs for biosensing applications

poster, Graphene Week 2013, Chemnitz, Germany


Jose A. Garrido
Graphene sensors for bioelectronic applications

plenary talk, Graphene Week 2013, Chemnitz, Germany


Roberta Caterino 
Novel functionalization of diamond surfaces for protein-based hybrid systems

talk, International Conference on Diamond and Carbons Materials, Riva del Garda, Italy


Roberta Caterino
Bio-photovoltaics based on hybrid systems of reaction centers and diamond

talk, International Conference on Diamond and Carbons Materials, Riva del Garda, Italy