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Open AccessArticle

Ionic Polymer Microactuator Activated by Photoresponsive Organic Proton Pumps

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Abu Dhabi University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
2
Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5B9, Canada
3
Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5B9, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ebrahim Ghafar-Zadeh
Actuators 2015, 4(4), 237-254; https://doi.org/10.3390/act4040237
Received: 27 August 2015 / Revised: 16 October 2015 / Accepted: 21 October 2015 / Published: 26 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biophysical Micro- and Nano-Actuators)
An ionic polymer microactuator driven by an organic photoelectric proton pump transducer is described in this paper. The light responsive transducer is fabricated by using molecular self-assembly to immobilize oriented bacteriorhodopsin purple membrane (PM) patches on a bio-functionalized porous anodic alumina (PAA) substrate. When exposed to visible light, the PM proton pumps produce a unidirectional flow of ions through the structure’s nano-pores and alter the pH of the working solution in a microfluidic device. The change in pH is sufficient to generate an osmotic pressure difference across a hydroxyethyl methacrylate-acrylic acid (HEMA-AA) actuator shell and induce volume expansion or contraction. Experiments show that the transducer can generate an ionic gradient of 2.5 μM and ionic potential of 25 mV, producing a pH increase of 0.42 in the working solution. The ΔpH is sufficient to increase the volume of the HEMA-AA microactuator by 80%. The volumetric transformation of the hydrogel can be used as a valve to close a fluid transport micro-channel or apply minute force to a mechanically flexible microcantilever beam. View Full-Text
Keywords: microfluidics; lab-on-chip; bacteriorhodopsin; proton pumps; molecular self-assembly; micro-actuation; pH-sensitive hydrogels microfluidics; lab-on-chip; bacteriorhodopsin; proton pumps; molecular self-assembly; micro-actuation; pH-sensitive hydrogels
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Al-Aribe, K.M.; Knopf, G.K.; Bassi, A.S. Ionic Polymer Microactuator Activated by Photoresponsive Organic Proton Pumps. Actuators 2015, 4, 237-254.

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