Tailoring the Surface Chemistry of PEDOT:PSS to Promote Supported Lipid Bilayer Formation

Konstantinos Kallitsis, Anna-Maria Pappa, Zixuan Lu, Alberto Alvarez-Fernandez, Ioanna Charalambous, Sina Schack, Walther C. Traberg, Quentin Thiburce, Karan Bali, Graham Christie, Stefan Guldin, Susan Daniel, Alberto Salleo, R. M. Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This communication reports on a versatile and substrate-agnostic method to tune the surface chemistry of conducting polymers with the aim of bridging the chemical mismatch between bioelectronic devices and biological systems. As a proof of concept, the surface of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) is grafted with a short-chain oligoethylene glycol monolayer to favor the formation of cell-derived supported lipid bilayers (SLBs). This method is tuned to optimize the affinity between the supported lipid bilayer and the conducting polymer, leading to significant improvements in bilayer quality and therefore electronic readouts. To validate the impact of surface functionalization on the system's ability to transduce biological phenomena into quantifiable electronic signals, the activity of a virus commonly used as a surrogate for SARS-CoV-2 (mouse hepatitis virus) is monitored with and without surface treatment. The functionalized devices exhibit significant improvements in electronic output, stemming from the improved SLB quality, therefore strengthening the case for the use of such an approach in membrane-on-a-chip systems.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMacromolecular Materials and Engineering
StatePublished - Apr 14 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-05-09
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2018-CRG7-3709
Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge funding for this project, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Army Research Office and accomplished under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-18-2-0152. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of DARPA or the Army Research Office or the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation herein. This publication was also supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under Award No. OSR-2018-CRG7-3709. A.A.F. and S.G. are grateful for funding by an EPSRC New Investigator Award (EP/R035105/1). WT acknowledges funding from the Cambridge Trust. Part of this work was performed at the Stanford Nanofabrication Facilities (SNF) and Stanford Nano Shared Facilities (SNSF), supported by the National Science Foundation as part of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure under award ECCS-1542152. The schematic illustrations on Figures 2 and 3 were created using Biorender.com. Finally, the authors acknowledge Dr. Achilleas Savva for fruitful discussions regarding the virus fusion experiments.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • General Chemical Engineering


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