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L. Zhang, B. Gupta, B. Goudeau, N. Mano, A. Kuhn

J. Am. Chem. Soc 140 (2018) 15501

Collecting electrochemical information concerning the presence of molecules in a solution is usually achieved by measuring current, potential, resistance or impedance via connection to a power supply. Here, we suggest wireless electromechanical actuation as a straight-forward readout of chemical information. This can be achieved based on the concept of bipolar electrochemistry, which allows measuring the presence of different model species in a quantitative way. We validate the concept by using a free-standing polypyrrole film. Its positively polarized extremity participates in an oxidation of the analyte and delivers electrons to the opposite extremity for the reduction of the polymer. This reduction is accompanied by the insertion of counter ions and thus leads to partial swelling of the film, inducing its bending. The resulting actuation is found to be a linear function of the analyte concentration and also a Michaelis-Menten type correlation is obtained for biochemical analytes. This electromechanical transduction allows an easy optical readout and opens up very interesting perspectives not only in the field of sensing, but also far beyond, such as for the elaboration of self-regulating biomimetic systems.

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