Illinois Nano EP Seminar Series Spring 2010 - Lecture 7: Can a Semiconductor Operate as a Human Cell ?

By J. P. Leburton

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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The ability to manipulate the enormous information resources contained in DNA molecules for applications in information technology is one of the new great scientific challenges at the cross road of biology, information science, physics and electrical engineering. In this talk, I will briefly review the technological evolution of the MOS transistor, which is the basic element of microelectronic systems, and address the "end of the road" scenario for silicon technology. I will discuss revolutionary developments in material nanotechnology, that give rise to promising concepts in device electronics for the next generation of information processing systems. Among these new ideas, I will present a scenario that integrates biology and semiconductor nano‐
electronics for probing the electrical activity of bio‐molecules. In this context, semiconductor membranes made of two thin layers of opposite n‐ and p‐doping can perform electrically tunable ion current rectification and filtering in a nanopore, which are fundamental functions of biological membranes surrounding human cells, and unable the manipulation of bio‐molecules electrically.


Jean-Pierre Leburton received his Ph.D. from the University of Liege (Belgium) in 1978. He is the Gregory E. Stillman Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois and a full-time faculty member in the Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials group in the Beckman Institute. His fields of professional interest are semiconductor devices, nonlinear transport in semiconductors, electronic and optical properties of quantum nanostructures, quantum wires and quantum dots, spintronics in nanostructures, and bio-nanotechnology.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • J. P. Leburton (2011), "Illinois Nano EP Seminar Series Spring 2010 - Lecture 7: Can a Semiconductor Operate as a Human Cell ? ,"

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Omar N Sobh

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign