Fusing Sensor Paradigms to Acquire Chemical Information: An Integrative Role for Smart Biopolymeric Hydrogels Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The Information Age transformed our lives but it has had surprisingly little impact on the way chemical information (e.g., from our biological world) is acquired, analyzed and communicated. Sensor systems are poised to change this situation by providing rapid access to chemical information. This access will be enabled by technological advances from various fields: biology enables the synthesis, design and discovery of molecular recognition elements as well as the generation of cell-based signal processors; physics and chemistry are providing nano-components that facilitate the transmission and transduction of signals rich with chemical information; microfabrication is yielding sensors capable of receiving these signals through various modalities; and signal processing analysis enhances the extraction of chemical information. The authors contend that integral to the development of functional sensor systems will be materials that (i) enable the integrative and hierarchical assembly of various sensing components (for chemical recognition and signal transduction) and (ii) facilitate meaningful communication across modalities. It is suggested that stimuli-responsive self-assembling biopolymers can perform such integrative functions, and redox provides modality-spanning communication capabilities. Recent progress toward the development of electrochemical sensors to manage schizophrenia is used to illustrate the opportunities and challenges for enlisting sensors for chemical information processing.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016