15 Scopus citations


Conjugated polymer films, which can conduct both ionic and electronic charges, are central to building soft electronic sensors and actuators. Despite the possible interplay between light absorption and the mixed conductivity of these materials in aqueous biological media, no single polymer film has been utilized to create a solar-switchable organic bioelectronic circuit that relies on a fully reversible and redox reaction-free potentiometric photodetection and current modulation. Here we demonstrate that the absorption of light by an electron and cation-transporting polymer film reversibly modulates its electrochemical potential and conductivity in an aqueous electrolyte, which is harnessed to design an n-type photo-electrochemical transistor (n-OPECT). By controlling the intensity of light incident on the n-type polymeric gate electrode, we generate transistor output characteristics that mimic the modulation of the polymeric channel current achieved through gate voltage control. The micron-scale n-OPECT exhibits a high signal-to-noise ratio and an excellent sensitivity to low light intensities. We demonstrate three direct applications of the n-OPECT, i.e., a photoplethysmogram recorder, a light-controlled inverter circuit, and a light-gated artificial synapse, underscoring the suitability of this platform for a myriad of biomedical applications that involve light intensity changes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 7 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-09-11
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR CRG10, OSR-2015-Sensors-2719, OSR-2018-CRG7-3709, REI/1/4204-01, REI/1/4229-01
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from KAUST, Office of Sponsored Research (OSR), under award numbers REI/1/4204-01, REI/1/4229-01, OSR-2015-Sensors-2719, and OSR-2018-CRG7-3709. C.E.P. acknowledges support from the KAUST Global Fellowship Program under the auspice of the Vice President for Research. I.M. acknowledges financial support from KAUST OSR CRG10, by EU Horizon2020 grant agreement no. 952911, BOOSTER, grant agreement no. 862474, RoLA-FLEX, and grant agreement no. 101007084 CITYSOLAR, EPSRC Projects EP/T026219/1 and EP/W017091/1. The authors thank Dr. Helen Bristow, Dr. Maxime Babics, Dr. Ilke Uguz, Dr. Julien Gorenflot and Dr. Wenchao Yang for the fruitful discussions. The schematic in Fig. 1e was created by A. Bigio, a scientific illustrator at KAUST.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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