Proton-enabled activation of peptide materials for biological bimodal memory

Min Kyu Song, Seok Daniel Namgung, Daehwan Choi, Hyeohn Kim, Hongmin Seo, Misong Ju, Yoon Ho Lee, Taehoon Sung, Yoon Sik Lee, Ki Tae Nam, Jang Yeon Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The process of memory and learning in biological systems is multimodal, as several kinds of input signals cooperatively determine the weight of information transfer and storage. This study describes a peptide-based platform of materials and devices that can control the coupled conduction of protons and electrons and thus create distinct regions of synapse-like performance depending on the proton activity. We utilized tyrosine-rich peptide-based films and generalized our principles by demonstrating both memristor and synaptic devices. Interestingly, even memristive behavior can be controlled by both voltage and humidity inputs, learning and forgetting process in the device can be initiated and terminated by protons alone in peptide films. We believe that this work can help to understand the mechanism of biological memory and lay a foundation to realize a brain-like device based on ions and electrons.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5896
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Samsung Research Funding Center of Samsung Electronics under Project Number SRFC-MA1401-51.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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