From Biological Cilia to Artificial Flow Sensors: Biomimetic Soft Polymer Nanosensors with High Sensing Performance
Author(s)Asadnia, Mohsen; Kottapalli, Ajay Giri Prakash; Karavitaki, K. Domenica; Warkiani, Majid Ebrahimi; Miao, Jianmin; Corey, David P.; Triantafyllou, Michael S; ... Show more Show less
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We report the development of a new class of miniature all-polymer flow sensors that closely mimic the intricate morphology of the mechanosensory ciliary bundles in biological hair cells. An artificial ciliary bundle is achieved by fabricating bundled polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) micro-pillars with graded heights and electrospinning polyvinylidenefluoride (PVDF) piezoelectric nanofiber tip links. The piezoelectric nature of a single nanofiber tip link is confirmed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Rheology and nanoindentation experiments are used to ensure that the viscous properties of the hyaluronic acid (HA)-based hydrogel are close to the biological cupula. A dome-shaped HA hydrogel cupula that encapsulates the artificial hair cell bundle is formed through precision drop-casting and swelling processes. Fluid drag force actuates the hydrogel cupula and deflects the micro-pillar bundle, stretching the nanofibers and generating electric charges. Functioning with principles analogous to the hair bundles, the sensors achieve a sensitivity and threshold detection limit of 300 mV/(m/s) and 8 μm/s, respectively. These self-powered, sensitive, flexible, biocompatibale and miniaturized sensors can find extensive applications in navigation and maneuvering of underwater robots, artificial hearing systems, biomedical and microfluidic devices.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Nature Publishing Group
Asadnia, Mohsen et al. “From Biological Cilia to Artificial Flow Sensors: Biomimetic Soft Polymer Nanosensors with High Sensing Performance.” Scientific Reports 6.1 (2016): n. pag.
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