Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Craig R Friedrich


The patterning of photoactive purple membrane (PM) films onto electronic substrates to create a biologically based light detection device was investigated. This research is part of a larger collaborative effort to develop a miniaturized toxin detection platform. This platform will utilize PM films containing the photoactive protein bacteriorhodopsin to convert light energy to electrical energy.

Following an effort to pattern PM films using focused ion beam machining, the photolithography based bacteriorhodopsin patterning technique (PBBPT) was developed. This technique utilizes conventional photolithography techniques to pattern oriented PM films onto flat substrates. After the basic patterning process was developed, studies were conducted that confirmed the photoelectric functionality of the PM films after patterning. Several process variables were studied and optimized in order to increase the pattern quality of the PM films. Optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and interferometric microscopy were used to evaluate the PM films produced by the patterning technique. Patterned PM films with lateral dimensions of 15 μm have been demonstrated using this technique. Unlike other patterning techniques, the PBBPT uses standard photolithographic processes that make its integration with conventional semiconductor fabrication feasible.

The final effort of this research involved integrating PM films patterned using the PBBPT with PMOS transistors. An indirect integration of PM films with PMOS transistors was successfully demonstrated. This indirect integration used the voltage produced by a patterned PM film under light exposure to modulate the gate of a PMOS transistor, activating the transistor. Following this success, a study investigating how this PM based light detection system responded to variations in light intensity supplied to the PM film. This work provides a successful proof of concept for a portion of the toxin detection platform currently under development.