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Proceedings Paper

Using cellular energy conversion and storage mechanics for bio-inspired energy harvesting
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Paper Abstract

Novel biologically-inspired energy harvesting devices constructed with lipid bilayer membranes are studied. Recently the research group has proposed the use of biomolecular unit cells consisting of encapsulated droplets with a lipid bilayer formed at their interfaces, stabilized between the two aqueous compartments. This allows for the rapid study and assessment of the characteristics of the individual unit cell, the insertion of various transport proteins and peptides that shape the response of the unit cell, and the construction of complex networks of these biomolecular systems. The goal of this work is to develop and study methods for constructing energy relevant devices through these biomolecular networks. These networks are highly tailorable, and allow the researcher to alter the embedded proteins/peptides in the lipid bilayer, the bilayer dimensions through the application of compressive forces, and the salt concentrations in the droplets. This allows for a high degree of control over their attributes and outputs. These systems also exhibit collective properties through large networks of the unit cells, allowing for complex sensing and actuation behavior not exhibited by single cells. This paper provides an overview of the development of a model for predicting the performance and output of these energy relevant biomolecular networks as well as preliminary experimental results that demonstrate some of the concepts in action.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 April 2013
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8686, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2013, 868613 (8 April 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2010700
Show Author Affiliations
Eric C. Freeman, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Michael K. Philen, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Donald J. Leo, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8686:
Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2013
Raúl J. Martín-Palma, Editor(s)

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