Biological ion transport has inspired recent developments in smart materials. The work by Leo and co-workers, Bailey and co-workers has demonstrated the feasibility to design engineered systems using biological ion transporters. The biological and bio-inspired systems utilize ion transport across a barrier membrane for energy conversion. Among smart materials, ionic-active materials demonstrate electromechanical coupling using ion transport across the thickness of the polymer. Inspired by the resemblance between ionic interaction in a conducting polymer and biological membranes, this paper presents a novel actuation mechanism that uses ion transport through a biological membrane to produce shape changes in a conducting polymer actuator. This paper presents the basic architecture, the physics of transduction and analysis of extensional and bending actuation in the hybrid bio-polymer actuator. An extensional actuator of size 1 cm × 1 cm × 1 μm is theoretically found to generate 135 mPa of blocked stress. A bimorph bending actuator of dimensions 10 mm × 1 mm × 2 μm is theoretically found to produce a free-displacement of 0.5 mm using biochemical gradients.

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