Letter abstract

Nature Nanotechnology 4, 437 - 440 (2009)
Published online: 7 June 2009 | doi:10.1038/nnano.2009.121

Subject Categories: Electronic properties and devices | Nanobiotechnology

Droplet networks with incorporated protein diodes show collective properties

Giovanni Maglia1, Andrew J. Heron1, William L. Hwang2, Matthew A. Holden3, Ellina Mikhailova1, Qiuhong Li1, Stephen Cheley1 & Hagan Bayley1

Recently, we demonstrated that submicrolitre aqueous droplets submerged in an apolar liquid containing lipid can be tightly connected by means of lipid bilayers1, 2, 3, 4, 5 to form networks4, 5, 6. Droplet interface bilayers have been used for rapid screening of membrane proteins7, 8 and to form asymmetric bilayers with which to examine the fundamental properties of channels and pores9. Networks, meanwhile, have been used to form microscale batteries and to detect light4. Here, we develop an engineered protein pore with diode-like properties that can be incorporated into droplet interface bilayers in droplet networks to form devices with electrical properties including those of a current limiter, a half-wave rectifier and a full-wave rectifier. The droplet approach, which uses unsophisticated components (oil, lipid, salt water and a simple pore), can therefore be used to create multidroplet networks with collective properties that cannot be produced by droplet pairs.

  1. Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3TA, UK
  2. Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5750, USA
  3. Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA

Correspondence to: Hagan Bayley1 e-mail: hagan.bayley@chem.ox.ac.uk


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