Sourav Banerjee - Biomimetic Understanding to Fabrication of Artificial Basilar Membrane, Blood-Brain Barrier Microchip, and SAW devices
From Katie Gentilello
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are gradually transforming at the interface of biology for multiple novel applications in the future. Integrated Material Assessment and Predictive Simulation Laboratory (i-MAPS) at the University of South Carolina (UofSC) has significant thrust on acoustical biomimetic for various applications. The approach is primarily based on observation, modeling and fabrication. All applications are derived from natural acoustic processes that we tend to ignore but naturally developed in the mammalian body. Through observation of the mechanism, understanding of the physics is derived from modified optimized physics-based models. Upon confirmation, the systems are fabricated for testing and validation. a) Inspired by the human cochlea, which is a magnificent acoustic device, an artificial basilar membrane is fabricated for potential use as mechanical Fourier Transformer. The device has potential applications in artificial hearing aids and artificial hearing devices for efficient human-robot interactions in the future. b) Natural transport of medicine and molecules through blood-brain-barrier (BBB) is challenging, however, with the aid of acoustical perturbation it is found to have increased absorption. Through understanding the physical mechanism acoustically aided artificial BBB are researched with neural experiments in acoustically aided microfluidic system. c) The lab-on-a-chip devices are very effective in sensing different mechanical and physical parameters related to biosensing, irrespective of their field of application, but has noticeable limitations. The limitation comes mostly from the demands posed by the users in a simultaneous sensing and the actuation environment, employing mutually exclusive physics and mechanisms. To overcome such limitations, acoustic waves devices are proposed for both sensing and actuation in a single platform simultaneously. The physics of surface acoustic wave (SAW) is one valuable physics used in MEMS that gives SAW devices to cover a wide range of applications such as filters, oscillators, transformers, sensors and actuators for biosensing.