Proteins turn out to be, at least in the form of ultra-thin films (i.e., a form that is potentially useful for electronics) to be remarkable conductors and in some ways defy what we know about solid state electronics.
They are dynamically disordered systems, but can conduct like rigid conjugated polymers or better. They show a lack of temperature dependence that fits quantum tunneling.
Indeed, we have shown that for small proteins such process is likely the dominant one.
However, the temperature independence is found also for large proteins, i.e., over distances where we know that such mechanism cannot be efficient enough for us to be able to measure.
These findings, made here and reproduced by other groups, could well be the result of a novel mechanism, a tantalizing prospect that explains the fundamental science interest in protein electronics.
Parts of our are collaborations with experimentalists and theorists abroad.
iScience, 23, 101099 (2020)
Rep. Progr. Physics, 81, 026601 (2018)