A Framework for Bioelectronics: Discovery and Innovation
There is an opportunity for dramatically increased synergy between electronics and biology, fostered by the march of electronics technologies to the atomic scale and rapid advances in system, cell, and molecular biology. In the next decade, it may become possible to restore vision or reverse the effects of spinal cord injury or disease; for a lab-on-a-chip to allow medical diagnoses without a clinic or instantaneous biological agent detection. Bioelectronics is the discipline resulting from the convergence of biology and electronics and it has the potential to significantly impact many areas important to the nation’s economy and well-being, including healthcare and medicine, homeland security, forensics, and protecting the environment and the food supply. Not only can advances in electronics impact biology and medicine, but conversely understanding biology may provide powerful insights into efficient assembly processes, devices, and architectures for nanoelectronics technologies, as physical limits of existing technologies are approached. This report develops the thesis that advances in bioelectronics can offer new and improved methods and tools while simultaneously reducing their costs, due to the continuing exponential gains in functionality-per-unit-cost in nanoelectronics (aka Moore’s Law). These gains drove the cost per transistor down by a factor of one million between 1970 and 2008 (for comparison, over the same period, the average cost of a new car rose from $3,900 to $26,000) and enabled unprecedented increases in productivity.