Protein Self-Assemblies That Can Generate, Hold, and Discharge Electric Potential in Response to Changes in Relative Humidity

Nathan A. Carter, Tijana Z. Grove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Generation of electric potential upon external stimulus has attracted much attention for the development of highly functional sensors and devices. Herein, we report large-displacement, fast actuation in the self-assembled engineered repeat protein Consensus Tetratricopeptide Repeat protein (CTPR18) materials. The ionic nature of the CTPR18 protein coupled to the long-range alignment upon self-assembly results in the measured conductivity of 7.1 × 10-2 S cm-1, one of the highest reported for protein materials. The change of through-thickness morphological gradient in the self-assembled materials provides the means to select between faster, highly water-sensitive actuation or vastly increased mechanical strength. Tuning of the mode of motion, e.g., bending, twisting, and folding, is achieved by changing the morphological director. We further show that the highly ionic character of CTPR18 gives rise to piezo-like behavior in these materials, exemplified by low-voltage, ionically driven actuation and mechanically driven generation/discharge of voltage. This work contributes to our understanding of the emergence of stimuli-responsiveness in biopolymer assemblies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7144-7151
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume140
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 13 2018

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