Catechol-Based Hydrogel for Chemical Information Processing

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Kim, E.; Liu, Z.; Liu, Y.; Bentley, W.E.; Payne, G.F. Catechol-Based Hydrogel for Chemical Information Processing. Biomimetics 2017, 2, 11.


Catechols offer diverse properties and are used in biology to perform various functions that range from adhesion (e.g., mussel proteins) to neurotransmission (e.g., dopamine), and mimicking the capabilities of biological catechols have yielded important new materials (e.g., polydopamine). It is well known that catechols are also redox-active and we have observed that biomimetic catechol-modified chitosan films are redox-active and possess interesting molecular electronic properties. In particular, these films can accept, store and donate electrons, and thus offer redox-capacitor capabilities. We are enlisting these capabilities to bridge communication between biology and electronics. Specifically, we are investigating an interactive redox-probing approach to access redox-based chemical information and convert this information into an electrical modality that facilitates analysis by methods from signal processing. In this review, we describe the broad vision and then cite recent examples in which the catechol–chitosan redox-capacitor can assist in accessing and understanding chemical information. Further, this redox-capacitor can be coupled with synthetic biology to enhance the power of chemical information processing. Potentially, the progress with this biomimetic catechol–chitosan film may even help in understanding how biology uses the redox properties of catechols for redox signaling.