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Proceedings Paper

Hair cell sensing with encapsulated interface bilayers
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Paper Abstract

A gel-supported lipid bilayer formed at the base of an artificial hair is used as the transduction element in a membrane-based artificial haircell sensor inspired by the structure and function of mammalian outer hair cells. This paper describes the initial fabrication and characterization of a bioderived, soft-material alternative to previous artificial haircells that used the transduction properties of synthetic materials for flow and touch sensing. Under an applied air flow, the artificial hair structure vibrates, triggering a picoamp-level electrical current across the bilayer. Experimental analysis of this mechanoelectrical transduction process supports the hypothesis that the oscillating current is produced by a time-varying change in the capacitance of the membrane caused by the vibration of the hair. Specifically, frequency analysis of both the motion of the hair and the measured current show that both phenomena occur at similar frequencies, which suggests that changes in capacitance occur as a result of membrane bending during excitation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 March 2011
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7975, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication, 797509 (23 March 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.880571
Show Author Affiliations
Stephen A. Sarles, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)
Donald J. Leo, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7975:
Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication
Raúl J. Martín-Palma; Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Editor(s)

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