Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine (2018)
  • Master of Engineering, Institut National Polytechnique (2015)
  • Bachelor of Engineering, Institut National Polytechnique (2012)

All Publications

  • Optical and Electronic Ion Channel Monitoring from Native Human Membranes. ACS nano Pappa, A., Liu, H., Traberg-Christensen, W., Thiburce, Q., Savva, A., Pavia, A., Salleo, A., Daniel, S., Owens, R. M. 2020


    Transmembrane proteins represent a major target for modulating cell activity, both in terms of therapeutics drugs and for pathogen interactions. Work on screening such therapeutics or identifying toxins has been severely limited by the lack of available methods that would give high content information on functionality (ideally multimodal) and that are suitable for high-throughput. Here, we have demonstrated a platform that is capable of multimodal (optical and electronic) screening of ligand gated ion-channel activity in human-derived membranes. The TREK-1 ion-channel was expressed within supported lipid bilayers, formed via vesicle fusion of blebs obtained from the HEK cell line overexpressing TREK-1. The resulting reconstituted native membranes were confirmed via fluorescence recovery after photobleaching to form mobile bilayers on top of films of the polymeric electroactive transducer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrenesulfonate (PEDOT:PSS). PEDOT:PSS electrodes were then used for quantitative electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements of ligand-mediated TREK-1 interactions with two compounds, spadin and arachidonic acid, known to suppress and activate TREK-1 channels, respectively. PEDOT:PSS-based organic electrochemical transistors were then used for combined optical and electronic measurements of TREK-1 functionality. The technology demonstrated here is highly promising for future high-throughput screening of transmembrane protein modulators owing to the robust nature of the membrane integrated device and the highly quantitative electrical signals obtained. This is in contrast with live-cell-based electrophysiology assays (e.g., patch clamp) which compare poorly in terms of cost, usability, and compatibility with optical transduction.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acsnano.0c01330

    View details for PubMedID 32469490

  • Energetic Control of Redox-Active Polymers toward Safe Organic Bioelectronic Materials. Advanced materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) Giovannitti, A., Rashid, R. B., Thiburce, Q., Paulsen, B. D., Cendra, C., Thorley, K., Moia, D., Mefford, J. T., Hanifi, D., Weiyuan, D., Moser, M., Salleo, A., Nelson, J., McCulloch, I., Rivnay, J. 2020: e1908047


    Avoiding faradaic side reactions during the operation of electrochemical devices is important to enhance the device stability, to achieve low power consumption, and to prevent the formation of reactive side-products. This is particularly important for bioelectronic devices, which are designed to operate in biological systems. While redox-active materials based on conducting and semiconducting polymers represent an exciting class of materials for bioelectronic devices, they are susceptible to electrochemical side-reactions with molecular oxygen during device operation. Here, electrochemical side reactions with molecular oxygen are shown to occur during organic electrochemical transistor (OECT) operation using high-performance, state-of-the-art OECT materials. Depending on the choice of the active material, such reactions yield hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ), a reactive side-product, which may be harmful to the local biological environment and may also accelerate device degradation. A design strategy is reported for the development of redox-active organic semiconductors based on donor-acceptor copolymers that prevents the formation of H2 O2 during device operation. This study elucidates the previously overlooked side-reactions between redox-active conjugated polymers and molecular oxygen in electrochemical devices for bioelectronics, which is critical for the operation of electrolyte-gated devices in application-relevant environments.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/adma.201908047

    View details for PubMedID 32125736

  • Self-Assembly of Mammalian-Cell Membranes on Bioelectronic Devices with Functional Transmembrane Proteins. Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids Liu, H. Y., Pappa, A. M., Pavia, A., Pitsalidis, C., Thiburce, Q., Salleo, A., Owens, R. M., Daniel, S. 2020


    Transmembrane proteins (TMPs) regulate processes occurring at the cell surface and are essential gatekeepers of information flow across the membrane. TMPs are difficult to study, given the complex environment of the membrane and its influence on protein conformation, mobility, biomolecule interaction, and activity. For the first time, we create mammalian biomembranes supported on a transparent, electrically conducting polymer surface, which enables dual electrical and optical monitoring of TMP function in its native membrane environment. Mammalian plasma membrane vesicles containing ATP-gated P2X2 ion channels self-assemble on a biocompatible polymer cushion that transduces the changes in ion flux during ATP exposure. This platform maintains the complexity of the native plasma membrane, the fluidity of its constituents, and protein orientation critical to ion channel function. We demonstrate the dual-modality readout using microscopy to characterize protein mobility by single-particle tracking and sensing of ATP gating of P2X2 using electrical impedance spectroscopy. This measurement of TMP activity important for pain sensing, neurological activity, and sensory activity raises new possibilities for drug screening and biosensing applications.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.langmuir.0c00804

    View details for PubMedID 32388991

  • Nanoscale Ion-Doped Polymer Transistors. Nano letters Thiburce, Q., Giovannitti, A., McCulloch, I., Campbell, A. J. 2019


    Organic transistors with submicron dimensions have been shown to deviate from the expected behavior due to a variety of so-called "short-channel" effects, resulting in nonlinear output characteristics and a lack of current saturation, considerably limiting their use. Using an electrochemically doped polymer in which ions are dynamically injected and removed from the bulk of the semiconductor, we show that devices with nanoscale channel lengths down to 50 nm exhibit output curves with well-defined linear and saturation regimes. Additionally, they show very large on-currents on par with their microscale counterparts, large on-to-off ratios of 108, and record-high width-normalized transconductances above 10 S m-1. We believe this work paves the way for the fabrication of high-gain, high-current polymer integrated circuits such as sensor arrays operating at voltages below |1 V| and prepared using simple solution-processing methods.

    View details for PubMedID 30720280

  • High performance photolithographically-patterned polymer thin-film transistors gated with an ionic liquid/poly(ionic liquid) blend ion gel APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS Thiburce, Q., Porcarelli, L., Mecerreyes, D., Campbell, A. J. 2017; 110 (23)

    View details for DOI 10.1063/1.4985629

    View details for Web of Science ID 000403347700042

  • Low-Voltage Polyelectrolyte-Gated Polymer Field-Effect Transistors Gravure Printed at High Speed on Flexible Plastic Substrates ADVANCED ELECTRONIC MATERIALS Thiburce, Q., Campbell, A. J. 2017; 3 (2)
  • Interfacial Chemical Composition and Molecular Order in Organic Photovoltaic Blend Thin Films Probed by Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES Razzell-Hollis, J., Thiburce, Q., Tsoi, W. C., Kim, J. 2016; 8 (45): 31469–81


    Organic electronic devices invariably involve transfer of charge carriers between the organic layer and at least one metal electrode, and they are sensitive to the local properties of the organic film at those interfaces. Here, we demonstrate a new approach for using an advanced technique called surface-enhanced raman spectroscopy (SERS) to quantitatively probe interfacial properties relevant to charge injection/extraction. Exploiting the evanescent electric field generated by a ∼7 nm thick layer of evaporated silver, Raman scattering from nearby molecules is enhanced by factors of 10-1000× and limited by a distance dependence with a measured decay length of only 7.6 nm. When applied to the study of an all-polymer 1:1 blend of P3HT and F8TBT used in organic solar cells, we find that the as-cast film is morphologically suited to charge extraction in inverted devices, with a top (anode) interface very rich in hole-transporting P3HT (74.5%) and a bottom (cathode) interface slightly rich in electron-transporting F8TBT (55%). While conventional, uninverted P3HT:F8TBT devices are reported to perform poorly compared to inverted devices, their efficiency can be improved by thermal annealing but only after evaporation of a metallic top electrode. This is explained by changes in composition at the top interface: annealing prior to silver evaporation leads to a greater P3HT concentration at the top interface to 83.3%, exaggerating the original distribution that favored inverted devices, while postevaporation annealing increases the concentration of F8TBT at the top interface to 34.8%, aiding the extraction of electrons in a conventional device. By nondestructively probing buried interfaces, SERS is a powerful tool for understanding the performance of organic electronic devices.

    View details for PubMedID 27786457