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Highly Sensitive and Patchable Pressure Sensors Mimicking Ion-Channel-Engaged Sensory Organs

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journal contribution
posted on 07.04.2016, 00:00 by Kyoung-Yong Chun, Young Jun Son, Chang-Soo Han
Biological ion channels have led to much inspiration because of their unique and exquisite operational functions in living cells. Specifically, their extreme and dynamic sensing abilities can be realized by the combination of receptors and nanopores coupled together to construct an ion channel system. In the current study, we demonstrated that artificial ion channel pressure sensors inspired by nature for detecting pressure are highly sensitive and patchable. Our ion channel pressure sensors basically consisted of receptors and nanopore membranes, enabling dynamic current responses to external forces for multiple applications. The ion channel pressure sensors had a sensitivity of ∼5.6 kPa–1 and a response time of ∼12 ms at a frequency of 1 Hz. The power consumption was recorded as less than a few μW. Moreover, a reliability test showed stability over 10 000 loading–unloading cycles. Additionally, linear regression was performed in terms of temperature, which showed no significant variations, and there were no significant current variations with humidity. The patchable ion channel pressure sensors were then used to detect blood pressure/pulse in humans, and different signals were clearly observed for each person. Additionally, modified ion channel pressure sensors detected complex motions including pressing and folding in a high-pressure range (10–20 kPa).