Ionic switch using nano-channels in polymeric membrane
A synthetic ion-transporting structure has been created using irradiated etched polymeric membrane to mimic natural systems like neurons. Considering the challenges involving the complexity in ion selectivity and opening/closing of channels in non-natural systems, efficient sodium and potassium ions’ transport through ion channels using voltage-gated channels is being presented. Cation selective nature, well-defined geometries, easy modification, and compatibility with different electronic and optical measurement techniques are some of the reasons which make ion channels in polyethylene terephthalate membrane the most appropriate choice for such channels. The applied voltage stimulus facilitates the transport of ions of the aqueous electrolytes and provides the direction to their flow. These ion channels in polymeric membranes behave as potassium ion channels in a particular applied voltage range and as sodium ion channels, in another voltage range. With applied voltage, these channels switch between high and low conduction states referred to as opening and closing. The opening time is referred to as the “event time” for the transportation of ions through ion channels. Event time for potassium and sodium channels varies with the applied voltage. Statistical interaction of ion channels affects the event time (opening/closing) of the ion channels.
KeywordsNano-channels Sodium channels Potassium channels Switching
The authors are grateful to Dr. D. Fink and the operators at the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Energy, Berlin, for irradiation of the samples.
This study received financial support from the University of Delhi and DST (Govt. of India).
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