Engineering miniaturized hair cell sensors for auditory system

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS), 2017, pp. 1173 - 1176
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© 2017 IEEE. Mechanosensory haircells are well-evolved biological sensors found in nature. In this paper, we present a novel artificial NEMS stereovilli sensor developed through novel fabrication techniques. The NEMS stereovilli sensor fabrication combines soft-polymer material synthesis methods and nanofiber generation techniques with conventional microfabrication methods to form novel flow sensors. The sensor fabrication mainly consists of three major steps which are 1) fabrication of artificial stereovilli of varying aspect ratios, 2) formation of nanofiber tip-links through electrospinning of PVDF material and 3) development of biomimetic HA-MA hydrogel cupula. These artificial sensors closely mimic stereovilli and achieve ultrahigh sensitivities through a biomimetic design. The sensors achieve a sensitivity and threshold detection limit of 300 mV/(m/s) and 8 μm/s, respectively.
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