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3 Opportunities
Pages 18-21

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From page 18...
... L`yotropic Systems36 Surfactant-based lyotropics will play a basic role in self-assembling and self-repairing systems. For example, lipid-water systems are known to display cubic phases that are bicontinuous; i.e., the entire aqueous region of the sample is divided by the lipid bilayer into two disconnected regions that are as National Research Council, Liquid Crystal Polymers (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1990~.
From page 19...
... Cell membranes resembling periodic minimal surfaces have been observed in cytoplasmic organelles such as mitochondria and chIoroplasts. It has been suggested that in certain invertebrates the endoplasmic reticulum (a system of interconnecting membranes inside the cell)
From page 20...
... A second approach to the preparation of protein-like polymers of non-natural amino acids relies on the observation in the 1950s that bacteria can utilize as substrates a surprising number of amino acid analogues, including several with functionally interesting side chains.39 The scope of this second approach remains to be defined, but it appears likely that in vivo protein biosynthesis will prove to be a more versatile route to new materials than was previously anticipated. Although the morphologies so far discovered in polymer systems are already quite diverse, it is nevertheless expected that advances in synthetic capabilities for greater control and complexity will lead to macromolecules with new structural geometries.
From page 21...
... One of the goals of biomolecular materials research is to couple the sensitivity and selectivity of biosensing with the robustness and mass-production attributes of silicon and the reliability of electronics.40 To this end, optical-fiber-based and microelectronics-based biosensors have been fabricated to detect a large number of chemicals, including glucose, nerve gas, and ethanol.4~ Many of these devices take advantage of highly selective antigen-antibody recognition events, others employ receptors as the sensing element, and yet others use catalytic selectivity of enzymes such as horseradish peroxidase to produce a detectable byproduct. One of the major as-yet underexplored opportunities in sensor research is the coupling of biological sensing units, whether they be receptors, antibodies, or enzymes, with microelectromechanical machines (MEMs)

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