The technological quest for flexible devices to be interfaced with the biological world has driven the recent reinvention of bioderived polymers as multifunctional active and passive constituent elements for electronic and photonic devices to use in the biomedical field. Keratin is one of the most important structural proteins in nature to be used as biomaterial platform in view of the recently reported advances in the extraction and processing from hair and wool fibers. In this article we report for the first time the simultaneous use of naturally extracted keratin as both active ionic electrolyte for water ions sensing and as bendable and insoluble substrate into the same multielectrode array-based device. We implemented the multifunctional system exclusively made by keratin as a bendable sensor for monitoring the humidity flow. The enhancement of the functional and structural properties of keratin such as bendability and insolubility were obtained by unprecedented selective chemical doping. The mechanisms at the basis of the sensing of humidity in the device were investigated by cyclic voltammetry and rationalized by reversible binding and extraction of water ions from the volume of the keratin active layer, while the figures of merit of the biopolymer such as the ionic conductivity and relaxation time were determined by means of electrical impedance and dielectric relaxation spectroscopy. A reliable linear correlation between the controlled-humidity level and the amperometric output signal together with the assessment on measure variance are demonstrated. Collectively, the fine-tuned ionic-electrical characterization and the validation in controlled conditions of the free-standing insoluble all-keratin made microelectrode array ionic sensor pave the way for the effective use of keratin biopolymer in wearable or edible electronics where conformability, reliability and biocompatibility are key-enabling features.

Engineering of keratin functionality for the realization of bendable all-biopolymeric micro-electrode array as humidity sensor

Aluigi, A;
2019-01-01

Abstract

The technological quest for flexible devices to be interfaced with the biological world has driven the recent reinvention of bioderived polymers as multifunctional active and passive constituent elements for electronic and photonic devices to use in the biomedical field. Keratin is one of the most important structural proteins in nature to be used as biomaterial platform in view of the recently reported advances in the extraction and processing from hair and wool fibers. In this article we report for the first time the simultaneous use of naturally extracted keratin as both active ionic electrolyte for water ions sensing and as bendable and insoluble substrate into the same multielectrode array-based device. We implemented the multifunctional system exclusively made by keratin as a bendable sensor for monitoring the humidity flow. The enhancement of the functional and structural properties of keratin such as bendability and insolubility were obtained by unprecedented selective chemical doping. The mechanisms at the basis of the sensing of humidity in the device were investigated by cyclic voltammetry and rationalized by reversible binding and extraction of water ions from the volume of the keratin active layer, while the figures of merit of the biopolymer such as the ionic conductivity and relaxation time were determined by means of electrical impedance and dielectric relaxation spectroscopy. A reliable linear correlation between the controlled-humidity level and the amperometric output signal together with the assessment on measure variance are demonstrated. Collectively, the fine-tuned ionic-electrical characterization and the validation in controlled conditions of the free-standing insoluble all-keratin made microelectrode array ionic sensor pave the way for the effective use of keratin biopolymer in wearable or edible electronics where conformability, reliability and biocompatibility are key-enabling features.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2701956
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