Organic field-effect transistor (OFET) memory devices made using highly stable iron-storage protein nanoparticle (NP) multilayers and pentacene semiconductor materials are introduced. These transistor memory devices have nonvolatile memory properties that cause reversible shifts in the threshold voltage (Vth) as a result of charge trapping and detrapping in the protein NP (i.e., the ferritin NP with a ferrihydrite phosphate core) gate dielectric layers rather than the metallic NP layers employed in conventional OFET memory devices. The protein NP-based OFET memory devices exhibit good programmable memory properties, namely, large memory window ΔVth (greater than 20 V), a fast switching speed (10 μs), high ON/OFF current ratio (above 104), and good electrical reliability. The memory performance of the devices is significantly enhanced by molecular-level manipulation of the protein NP layers, and various biomaterials with heme FeIII/FeII redox couples similar to a ferrihydrite phosphate core are also employed as charge storage dielectrics. Furthermore, when these protein NP multilayers are deposited onto poly(ethylene naphthalate) substrates coated with an indium tin oxide gate electrode and a 50-nm-thick high-k Al2O3 gate dielectric layer, the approach is effectively extended to flexible protein transistor memory devices that have good electrical performance within a range of low operating voltages (<10 V) and reliable mechanical bending stability.
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