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AFRL-ML-WP-TP-2007-531


BIOMIMETICS AND THE APPLICATION TO
DEVICES (Preprint)
Morley O. Stone, Ph.D.


Biotechnology, Exploratory Development
Hardened Materials Branch
Survivability and Sensor Materials Division


SEPTEMBER 2006






Approved for public release; distribution unlimited.

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AIR FORCE RESEARCH LABORATORY
MATERIALS AND MANUFACTURING DIRECTORATE
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OH 45433-7750
AIR FORCE MATERIEL COMMAND
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
NOTICE



Using Government drawings, specifications, or other data included in this document for any
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The fact that the Government formulated or supplied the drawings, specifications, or other data
does not license the holder or any other person or corporation; or convey any rights or permission
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This report was cleared for public release by the Air Force Research Laboratory Wright Site
(AFRL/WS) Public Affairs Office (PAO) and is releasable to the National Technical Information
Service (NTIS). It will be available to the general public, including foreign nationals.



THIS TECHNICAL REPORT IS APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION.



*//signature// //signature//
______________________________________
______________________________________

MORLEY O. STONE, Ph.D. MARK S. FORTE, Acting Chief
Biotechnology Hardened Materials Branch
Exploratory Development Survivability and Sensor Materials Division
Hardened Materials Branch




//signature//
______________________________________

TIM J. SCHUMACHER, Chief
Survivability and Sensor Materials Division
Materials and Manufacturing Directorate


This report is published in the interest of scientific and technical information exchange and its
publication does not constitute the Government’s approval or disapproval of its ideas or findings.

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4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE

BIOMIMETICS AND THE APPLICATION TO DEVICES (Preprint)
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62102F
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4348
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RG
6. AUTHOR(S)

Morley O. Stone, Ph.D. (Biotechnology, Exploratory Development)
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M03R1000
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8. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION
REPORT NUMBER
Biotechnology, Exploratory Development
Hardened Materials Branch, Survivability and Sensor Materials Division
Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH 45433-7750
Air Force Materiel Command, United States Air Force

AFRL-ML-WP-TP-2007-531
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Air Force Research Laboratory
Materials and Manufacturing Directorate
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH 45433-7750
Air Force Materiel Command
United States Air Force

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or disclose the work. PAO case number AFRL/WS 06-2035, 21 August 2006. Submitted to the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Engineering, Frontiers of Engineering Conference. This is the best quality available.
14. ABSTRACT
At first glance, imitating nature via biomimetics seems to be a straightforward proposition. For example, if one is a
roboticist, just add legs to the platform instead of wheels. Unfortunately, and as often the case, the devil is in the details.
This short synopsis will cover biomimetic examples of material synthesis, sensing and robotics. This overview will
attempt to capture some lessons learned, some surprising and unanticipated insights, and some of the potential pitfalls
encountered along the way. For a more complete review, recent perspectives on combining biology with other
disciplines have recently been published.
15. SUBJECT TERMS
Poly(vinyl alcohol)(PVA), Light Emitting Diode(LED), Single-walled Carbon Nanotubes (SWNTs)
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Unclassified

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OF ABSTRACT:
SAR
18. NUMBER
OF PAGES
12


Morley O. Stone, Ph.D.
19b. TELEPHONE NUMBER (Include Area Code)
(937) 255-4588

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Prescribed by ANSI Std. Z39-18

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BiomimeticsandtheApplicationtoDevices
MorleyStone
Air ForceResearchLaboratory,MaterialsandManufacturingDirectorate,Wright-
PattersonAir ForceBase,Ohio45433-7702
1.BiologyandEngineering- IntroductiontoBiomimetics
At firstglance,imitatingnatureviabiomimeticsseemstobeastraightforward
proposition.Forexample,if oneisaroboticist,justaddlegstotheplatforminsteadof
wheels.Unfortunately,andasoftenthecase,thedevilisinthedetails.Thisshort
synopsiswill coverbiomimeticexamplesofmaterialsynthesis,sensingandrobotics.
Thisoverviewwill attempttocapturesomelessonslearned,somesurprisingand
unanticipatedinsights,andsomeofthepotentialpitfallsencounteredalongtheway.
Foramorecompletereview,recentperspectivesoncombiningbiologywithother
disciplineshaverecentlybeenpublished1.
"Just DON'T addwater"
Often,biologistsandengineersspeaktwocompletelydifferentlanguages.Thisisperhaps
nomoregraphicallyillustratedthancomparingtheworldofelectricalengineersand
sensordesignerswiththeworldofbiology.Manipulationofbiologicalmacromolecules,
i.e.,nucleicacidsand/orproteins,meanstheuseofbufferedsolutions(usuallypH
-
7),
controlledsalinity,andregulatedtemperatures.Incorporatingthesebiologicalsalt
solutionswithelectronicsandsensorarchitecturesseemstobeanoxymoron.Thus,the
conversionorpushofbiologicalmaterialsawayfromsolutiontosolid-stateprocessing
hasbeenakeytechnologydriverwithinourlab.
Thekeytoovercomingthisseeminglyinsurmountableincompatibilityistheuseof
"bridging"materialssystems.Fromourwork,thishasbeentheuseof polymerhost
materialstocaptureandmaintainthebiologicalfunctionalitl.Manypolymersystems
qualifyhashydrogelsbecausetheyincorporateandmaintainanenormousamountof
water,e.g.,poly(vinylalcohol)(PVA).Whilethebiologicalsideofthisequationis
I
NaikRR.,StoneM O.(2005)MaterialsToday8:18-26.
1
satisfiedviatheincorporationof water,polymersystemscanbespin-coated,
lithographicallypatterned,madeconductive,andahostof othertreatmentsthatelectrical
engineersroutinelyuse.Thus,polymersrepresentatrulybridgingmaterialsystemin
makingbiologicalmacromoleculesmeshwithsynthetictechnology.
Anotherrecentexamplehighlightsthepotentialbiologicalmaterialscanhavewhen
integratedintoacommonelectricalconstructlikealightemittingdiode(LED).However,
thisworkrequiresaparadigmshiftinmaterialsthinking- namelywhatwouldhappenif
DNAwerenolongerprocessedontraditionalmicrogramquantities,butprocessedin
gramandkilogramquantities.ThefishingindustryinJapanprocessestonsofseafood
yearly.Inconjunction,theyalsothrowawaytonsofDNA fromfishgameteseveryyear.
ResearchersattheChitoseInstituteof ScienceandTechnologyinJapan,inpartnership
withourlaboratory,haveprocessedthisdiscardedDNA intoasurfactantcomplexand
havescaledtheprocessuponamulti-gramscale3,At thisscaleandinthisform,the
DNA cannowbespin-coatedintotraditionelectronicsarchitectures.Asrecently
published4,aDNA electronblockinglayerspindepositedontheholeinjectionsideofthe
electron-holerecombinationlayergreatlyenhancedLEDefficiencyandperformance
(FigureI).
Figure1:PhotographsofAlq3greenemittingBioLEDandbaselineOLEDdevicesinoperation.
2BrottL L,RozenzhakS M,Naik R R,DavidsonS R,PeITinR E,StoneMO.(2004)AdvancedMaterials
16:592-596.
3WangL,YoshidaJ,OgataN.(2001)Chern.Mater.13:1273-1281.
4
HagenJ A,Li W,StecklA J,GroteJ G.(2006)Appl.Phys.Left.88:171109-171111.
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"OneStepRemoved"
Intheprevioussection,thedirectincorporationofbiologicalmacromoleculeswas
presented.Inanotherapproaches,wehaveattemptedtousebiologyindirectlyin
advancedmaterialsynthesisanddevices.Liketherefraintromapopularchemical
companycommercial-biologyisn'tinthefinalmaterial,itmakesthefinalmaterial
better.
Labsaroundtheworldhaveracedtoharnesstheincredibleelectronic,thermal,and
mechanicalpropertiesinherentinsingle-walledcarbonnanotubes(SWNTs).One
impedimenttoharnessingSWNTsisthewidevarietyofcarbonnanotubesproducedafter
asynthesisrun.Afteratypicalrun,thereisalargedispersionofsizes(bothinlengthand
diameter)contributingtoavarietyofchiralities(whichdictatethemetallicor
semiconductingnatureoftheSWNT).Muchofthissizeheterogeneityarisesfromthe
heterogeneityofthestatingmetallicnanoparticlesusedtocatalyzethegrowthofSWNTs.
Ferritinsandferritin-likeproteinssequesteriron(intheformofironoxide)inprecisely
definedcavitiesrangingfrom8nmto4nmforhumanandbacterialforms,respectively.
WerecentlyengineeredabacterialformcalledDPStoproduceuniform,monodisperse
ironoxideparticles5.Wereasonedthatthismonodispersestartingpoolofnanoparticles
wouldleadtoamoremonodispersepopulationof SWNTs.Indeed,afterthebacterial
proteinwasusedtoproducetheironoxideparticles,thebiologicalshellwasremovedvia
scinteringinareducedatmosphereandsubjectedtogas-phasecarbonnanotubegrowth.
TheresultingSWNTsadoptedthemonodispersecharacterofthestartingcatalyst
particles;thus,biologywasn'tinthefinalproduct,itwasusedtomakeatechnologically
promisingmaterialbetter.
2.MaterialsScienceandEngineeringOverlappingwithBiology
Fromamaterialsscienceandengineeringperspective,favorableproperties,i.e.,
electronicandstructural,usuallyemergewhenonehascontroloverthesynthesisprocess
5KramerR M,SowardsL A,PenderM J,StoneM 0,Naik R R.(2005)Langmuir21:8466-8470.
3
atfinerandfinerlevels,hencethefrenzyandhypeovernanotechnology.As illustrated
aboveinthecarbonnanotubeexample,biologycangiveustoolstocontroland/or
synthesizematerialswithmolecular-levelcontrol.
A powerfulillustrativeexampleofthiscontrolcomesfromunicellularalgae,called
diatoms,whichmakeexquisitecellularstructuresoutofsilica.Thousandsofspeciesof
diatomsexistinsaltandfreshwater.Eachdiatomspeciesmakesuniquesilicastructures
andpatterns- fromhingestointricatearraysofholesandspines.Thisintricateand
precisesilicasynthesisoccursatambienttemperatureandpHandpossessesacomplexity
greaterthananythingwecanmakesyntheticallyusingsol-geltechniques.
Theworkof Krogerandcolleaguesprovidedmolecularinsightintothesilicadeposition
processof diatoms6.This insighthasallowedustoaskquestionsaboutthemolecular
evolutionof thisactivitydenovo7,andhowtoapplythisactivitytoaccomplishpractical
applications,i.e.,enzymaticencapsulations.
Fromthisactivity,andtheworkofothers,thefieldofbiomineralizationhasbeenableto
greatlybroadenthescopeofmaterialssynthesizedviaabiologicalroutetoencompass
notonlyoxides,butalsometalsandsemiconductors9.Whenoneconsidersthefactthat
peptidesspecificforinorganicbindingandnucleationcanbecombined,i.e.,genetically
fused,withpeptidesthatbindanothermoiety,endlesspossibilitiesbegintoemerge.This
opensthepossibilityofdirectlyincorporatingbiologicalmacromoleculesdirectlyinto
electronicstructures/devices.Forexample,onecouldimagineliterallygrowingafield
effecttransistor(FET)metal-oxide-metalarchitectureviaabiologicalrouteratherthan
relyinguponstandardtop-downphotolithographicprocesses.Additionally,thisroute
doesnotjustpossesselectronicpossibilitiesbutnewapproachesinopticsandcatalysis.
6KrogerN,DeutzmannR,SumperM.(1999)Science286:1129-1132.
7NaikR R,BrottL L,ClarsonS J,StoneM O.(2002)J of NanoscienceandNanotechnology2:1-6.
8LuckariftH R,SpainJ C,Naik R R,StoneM O.(2004)NatureBiotechnology22:211-213.
9SlocikJ M,StoneM 0,Naik R R.(2005)Small!:1048-1052.
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Recently,wehaveshownthatbygrowingbi-metallicsystemsusingabio-based
approach,enhancedcatalyticactivityofsuchbi-metallicmaterialscanbedemonstrated10.
3.Bio-InspiredRobotics:AppliedBiologyandEngineering
Thecombinationof biologicalprincipleswithmechanicalengineeringandroboticshas
openedentirelynewareasandpossibilitiesll.Startingwiththepremise"Why dolegs
matter?"thefieldisexplodingtoencompasswhymaterialspropertiesmatter,why
mechanicsandarchitecturematterandhowbiologicalinsightcangiveuscompletelynew
capabilities.Entirelynewlessonsandroboticcapabilitieshaveemerged- dynamic
compliance,molecularadhesion,conformalgrasping,anddynamicstability- toname
just afewof theconceptsimplementedintoroboticplatforms.
Thefirstcontributionsofbiologytoroboticscamefromtheinsightandadvantages
affordedbyasprawledpostureandtheabilitytoutilizeopposingforcestoachieveself-
stabilizationI2,13.Muchofthisearlyworkfocusedonunderstandingthepropermechanics
involvedinleggedlocomotion.Thespring-loadedinvertedpendulum(SLIP)modelhas
beenacceptedasanaccuratemodelofbiologicallocomotionindependentofthenumber
of legsorthebiologicalplatform,i.e.,horseorhumanorcockroach.
Recently,theCutkoskylabatStanford,whodevelopedpneumatically-drivenhexapod
runningrobots,hasbeenchallengedtobuildawall-climbingplatformcapableof
emulatinggecko-likebehaviorl4.Fromamaterialsscienceperspective,thechallengehas
centeredonthe.abilitytoproducesynthetichairarrayswithadiameterof200nm,ata
densityof 1-2e9hairs/cm2,andbeself-cleaning.
Asidefromthischallenge,theroboticsfieldcouldbenefitimmenselyfromhaving
tunable(dynamic)modulusmaterials.Today,complianceisusuallytunedmechanically.
10SlocikJ M,Naik R R.(2006)AdvancedMaterials18:1988-1992.
II BiodynoticsProgram,DefenseSciencesOffice,DefenseAdvancedResearchProjectsAgency
12FuJI R J andTu MS.(1991)1.Exp.BioI.156:215-231.
13DickensonM H,FarleyC T,FuJI R J,Koehl MAR,KramR,LehmanS.(2000)Science288:100-106.
14ClarkJ E,ChamJ G,BaileyS A,FroehlichE M,NahataP K,Full R J,CutkoskyM R.(2001)
ProceedingsofIEEE InternationalConferenceonRoboticsandAutomation,3643-3649.
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Thecostinweightinpoweris expensive;inaddition,thecapabilityaffordedbythis
tuningis lackingcomparedtothedesiredperformance.Biologypossessesnumerous
modelsof tunablemodulusmaterials,e.g.,theseacucumber,andextrapolatingthese
lessonstoroboticscouldhaveahugeimpact.
4.ConcludingRemarks
Withinourresearchlabs,weareframingourfutureinvestmentsinanareaweterm
biotronics.Weusethistermtoencompassbothbio-electronicsandbio-photonics.Ascan
beseenfromtheLEDandFET examplesabove,thisareaisripeforrevolutionary
breakthroughsaffordedbybiologicalmaterialincorporation.Newcapabilities,like
tunabledielectrics,couldrevolutionizehowweperformsensingandelectronicreadout.It
isourvisionthatanewintegratedpackageofsensingandreadoutwill emerge.
Alsohighlightedistheabilitythatbiologygivesustofabricatematerials,structures,and
devicesfromthebottom-up.Manybelievethatif wearetrulygoingtoharness
commerciallyviablenano-manufacturing,bio-inspirationisgoingtoplayakeyrolein
makingthisareality.Catalysisandself-assemblyhavebeenmasteredbybiological
systemslikeenzymesandviruses,respectively.Lessonsarecomingfromtheseareasand
beingappliedtotraditionalsolid-stateelectronicsfields.Theengineeringfieldsare
beginningtorealizethepossibilitiesanditisofparamountimportancethatwebeginto
institutionalizethisinourundergraduateandgraduatetrainingprograms.Numerous
countriesareawakingtothisrealizationandthefuturetechnicalbaseofthecountryis
dependentupon"thescienceandengineeringdepartmentsofthiscountryfosteringthis
interdisciplinarytraining.
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