Pyroelectric effect discovered in diphenylalanine tubular structures
Andrei Kholkin research on self-assembled biocompatible FF microtubes open doors to new biomedical application.

Many peptides and proteins have the ability to create long, thin fibers, named fibrils. To the already known capability, a group of researchers has found a way to take advantage of this capability to create tubular diphenylalanine structures with pyroelectric properties, ie, able to convert thermal energy into electrical energy. Andrei Kholkin, researcher from CICECO/Physics Department of UA, is author of the study that brought together an international team of researchers and which shows that these polymers are biocompatible and nanoscopic scale can have a wide range of biological applications.

"This work confirmed that the self-assembled peptides - that have the same structure motif as the famous beta-amyloid, proteins crucially involved in Alzheimer's Disease - have a dipole moment which is temperature dependent", said Andrei Kholkin. The discovery, reveals the researcher, "it may have an involvement in the genesis of Alzheimer's disease and efficiently convert small temperature changes into electrical signals in the brain." The results may also have an applicability to manage power where temperature variation is large.

The work was published this month in the journal Applied Physics Letters and beyond Andrei Kholkin, with the participation of a group of researchers from the Institute of Natural Sciences and Mathematics of the Ural Federal University (Russia) and the Department of Physics Engineering from Istanbul Technical University (Turkey):

Pyroelectric effect and polarization instability in self-assembled diphenylalanine microtubes
Esin, A. and Baturin, I. and Nikitin, T. and Vasilev, S. and Salehli, F. and Shur, V. Ya. and Kholkin, A. L., Applied Physics Letters, 109, 142902 (2016)

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