Funding: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades. Proyectos: Europa Excelencia
Region: National
Project period: 2018 – 2019
Principal Investigators: Rubén Costa Riquelme (ruben.costa@imdea.org)

This project aims to design multifunctional rubbers with enhanced mechanical, thermal, color-converting, and light-guiding features towards advanced biohybrid lighting technologies. The latter are placed at the forefront of the EU efforts for the efficient consumption of electricity, a critical issue for a sustainable development.

In this context, the use of biomolecules as functional components in lighting devices is still a challenge, as they quickly denature under fabrication, storage, and device operation conditions. This paradigm has changed using an innovative rubber-like material, in which the biofunctionality is long preserved. As a proof-of-concept, color down-converting rubbers based on fluorescent proteins were used to design the first biohybrid white light-emitting diode (bio-HWLED). To develop a new generation of biohybrid devices, this project will address the following critical issues, namely:

 i) the nature of the protein-matrix stabilization,

ii) how to enhance the thermal/mechanical features,

iii) how to design multifunctional rubbers,

iv) how to mimic natural patterns for light-guiding, and

v) how to expand the technological use of the rubber approach.

To achieve these goals, this project involves comprehensive spectroscopic, microscopic, and mechanical studies to investigate the protein-matrix interaction using additives and protein-polymer nanoparticles. In addition, the mechanical, thermal, and light-coupling features will be enhanced using structural biocompounds and reproducing biomorphic patterns. As such, this project offers two major advances: a thorough scientific basis for the rubber approach, and a significant thrust of the emerging bio-HWLEDs.

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