Ms. Hao Zhang, one of Dr. Sundaresan’s doctoral students at Virginia Commonwealth University will defend her thesis on 04/29/2013 in Virginia Commonwealth University. Her thesis titled Chemoelectromechanical Actuation in a Hybrid Bioderived Conducting Polymer Membrane will be presented between 1p-2p.
Thesis abstract is presented below:
Biological and bio-inspired systems using ion transport across a membrane for energy conversion has inspired recent developments in smart materials. The active mechanism in bioderived materials is ion transport across an impermeable membrane that converts electrochemical gradients into electrical and mechanical work. In addition to bioderived materials, ion transport phenomenon in electroactive polymers such as ionomeric and conducting polymers produces electromechanical coupling in these materials. Inspired by the similarity in transduction mechanism, this doctoral thesis focuses on integrating the ion transport processes in a bioderived material and an conducting polymer for developing novel actuation systems. The integrated membrane has a bilayer lipid membrane (BLM) formed on a conducting polymer, and the proteins reconstituted in the BLM regulate ion transport into the conducting polymer. The properties of the polymer layer in the integrated device are regulated through the control signal applied to the bioderived layer and hence the hybrid membrane resembles an ionic transistor. Due to the bioderived nature of this device, it is referred to as the hybrid bioderived membrane. The research carried out in this thesis will develop design rules to fabricate a chemoelectromechanical actuator using the hybrid membrane.