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Proceedings Paper

Role of the array geometry in multi-bilayer hair cell sensors
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Paper Abstract

Recently, a bio-inspired, synthetic membrane-based hair cell sensor was fabricated and characterized. This sensor generates current in response to mechanical stimuli, such as airflow or free vibration, which perturb the sensor’s hair. Vibration transferred from the hair to a lipid membrane (lipid bilayer) causes a voltage-dependent time rate of change in electrical capacitance of the membrane, which produces measurable current. Studies to date have been performed on systems containing only two droplets and a single bilayer, even though an array of multiple bilayers can be formed with more than 2 droplets. Thus, it is yet to be determined how multiple lipid bilayers affect the sensing response of a membrane-based hair cell sensor. In this work, we assemble serial droplet arrays with more than 1 bilayer to experimentally study the current generated by each membrane in response to perturbation of a single hair element. Two serial array configurations are studied: The first consists of a serial array of 3 bilayers formed using 4 droplets with the hair positioned in an end droplet. The second configuration consists of 3 droplets and 2 bilayers in series with the hair positioned in the central droplet. In serial arrays of up to four droplets, we observe that mechanotransduction of the hair’s motion into a capacitive current occurs at every membrane, with bilayers positioned adjacent to the droplet containing the hair generating the largest sensing current. The measured currents suggest the total current generated by all bilayers in a 4-droplet, 3-bilaye array is greater than the current produced by a single-membrane sensor and similar in magnitude to the sum of currents output by 3, single-bilayer sensors operated independently. Moreover, we learned that bilayers positioned on the same side of the hair produce sensing currents that are in-phase, whereas bilayers positioned on opposite sides of the droplet containing the hair generate out-of-phase responses.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 May 2014
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9055, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2014, 90550D (8 May 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2045377
Show Author Affiliations
Nima J. Tamaddoni, The Univ. of Tennessee (United States)
Stephen A. Sarles, The Univ. of Tennessee (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9055:
Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2014
Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Editor(s)

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