Ionic and electronic conduction mechanisms are underpinned by fundamentally different physics . For example, ions diffuse through a conducting matrix via centre of mass transport that can be described by classical processes. Electrons and holes are quantum mechanical entities characterised by delocalisation, tunnelling or hopping. These fundamental differences impose radically different length-and-time-scales on ionic and electronic conduction – and generally speaking the solid-state physics of ions and electrons have remained two very different fields requiring different skill sets . However, bioelectronics, where a central challenge is the transduction between ion and electron currents, is a scientific collision point between the two worlds.
In my talk I will summarise the major differences between ionic and electronic solid state electrical conduction. I will also describe methods that can probe the relevant time-and-length scales in order to identify and disentangle the native signatures of each carrier type [3, 4]. A number of model systems and devices will be exemplified that allow the study of ion and electron conduction processes, and indeed provide a means to test prototypical concepts in transduction and bioelectronic logic interfaces [5, 6].
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