Conjugated polymers (CPs) possess a unique set of features setting them apart from other materials. These properties make them ideal when interfacing the biological world electronically. Their mixed electronic and ionic conductivity can be used to detect weak biological signals, deliver charged bioactive molecules, and mechanically or electrically stimulate tissues. CPs can be functionalized with various (bio)chemical moieties and blend with other functional materials, with the aim of modulating biological responses or endow specificity toward analytes of interest. They can absorb photons and generate electronic charges that are then used to stimulate cells or produce fuels. These polymers also have catalytic properties allowing them to harvest ambient energy and, along with their high capacitances, are promising materials for next-generation power sources integrated with bioelectronic devices. In this perspective, an overview of the key properties of CPs and examination of operational mechanism of electronic devices that leverage these properties for specific applications in bioelectronics is provided. In addition to discussing the chemical structure–functionality relationships of CPs applied at the biological interface, the development of new chemistries and form factors that would bring forth next-generation sensors, actuators, and their power sources, and, hence, advances in the field of organic bioelectronics is described.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: D.O. and S.I. gratefully acknowledge financial support from the KAUST Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under Award no. OSR-2018-CRG7-3709 and from OSR-2015-Sensors-2719. Figure 1 was created by H. Hwang, scientific illustrator at KAUST.