Conducting polymer actuators and sensors utilize electrochemical reactions and associated ion transport at the polymer-electrolyte interface for their engineering function. Similarly, a bioderived active material utilizes ion transport through a protein and across a bilayer lipid membrane for sensing and actuation functions. Inspired by the similarity in ion transport process in a bilayer lipid membrane (BLM) and conducting polymers, we propose to build an integrated ionic device in which the ion transport through the protein in the bilayer lipid membrane regulates the electrolytic and mechanical properties of the conducting polymer. This article demonstrates the fabrication and characterization of a DPhPC planar BLM reconstituted with alamethicin and supported on a polypyrrole bridge measuring 100 μm × 500 μm and formed across micro-fabricated gold pads. The assembly is supported on silicon dioxide coated wafers and packaged into an electronic-ionic package for electrochemical characterization. The various ionic components in the integrated ionic device are characterized using electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), cyclic voltammetry (CV), and chronoamperometry (CA) measurements. The results from our experimental studies demonstrate the procedure to fabricate a rugged electro active polymer supported BLM that will serve as a platform for chemical, bioelectrical sensing and VOC detection.

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