050097: Customizable and Renewable Nanostructured Interface for Bioelectronic Applications

Biomimetic interfaces consisting of synthetic lipid membranes allow proteins to be immobilized in an active conformation on a surface. The protein's activity is transduced into an electrical signal using electrochemical techniques to render a biosensor. Biomimetic interfaces that contain an upper layer of a hydrophobic lipid membrane, and a hydrophilic layer between it and the working electrode, have been integrated in silicon chips and are candidates for miniaturization and large scale production. The middle hydrophilic layer requires aqueous solutes for transduction. However, the solutes are gradually depleted by reactions or lost through degradation and diffusion. In addition to an improved method to interface dehydrogenase enzymes to electrodes, the invention provides a mechanism to transfer hydrophilic solutes across the lipid membrane. Spent solutes can be removed from the reservoir, and fresh solutes added, thus extending the useful lifetime of the biomimetic interface.


The invention improves biomimetic devices and chemical structures in preparation of bioelectronic devices. Biologically active compounds, such as enzymes, are bound, either directly or indirectly, to a polyelectrolyte surface. The polyelectrolyte film may be reversibly bound to a treated substrate electrode to facilitate regeneration of the electrode for reapplication of new electrolyte and new biologically active compounds. Since the polyelectrolyte is electrostatically bound to the treated electrode substrate, removal is easily facilitated by changing conditions, such as pH. This allows the most expensive part (the electrically conductive substrate) of a biomimetic device or array of biomimetic devices to be easily regenerated at a reasonable cost, thereby facilitating such applications as rapid, low cost bioassays.


  • Reduce maintenance cost: Rapidly and inexpensively replenish sensing elements of bioelectronic interfaces based on dehydrogenase enzymes.
  • More versatile: Technology can be used to attach more variety of enzymes for sensing a diversity of compounds or for use in biocatalytic reactors.
  • Scalable: Can be deployed as part of a multifunctional array of sensors, integrated on a single chip or device, and/or fabricated using techniques such as microcontact printing.


The technology is applicable to biomedical markets such as bioassays and emerging bioelectronics devices (biomimetic sensors, biomedical devices, catalytic systems, etc.) and chemical structures useful for preparing biomimetic devices.

Development Status

Prototype exists; proof of concept demonstrated.

IP Protection Status

Patent pending
Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University - Test