Heterogeneous silicon mesostructures for lipid-supported bioelectric interfaces

Yuanwen Jiang, João L. Carvalho-De-Souza, Raymond C.S. Wong, Zhiqiang Luo, Dieter Isheim, Xiaobing Zuo, Alan W. Nicholls, Il Woong Jung, Jiping Yue, Di Jia Liu, Yucai Wang, Vincent De Andrade, Xianghui Xiao, Luizetta Navrazhnykh, Dara E. Weiss, Xiaoyang Wu, David N. Seidman, Francisco Bezanilla*, Bozhi Tian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Silicon-based materials have widespread application as biophysical tools and biomedical devices. Here we introduce a biocompatible and degradable mesostructured form of silicon with multi-scale structural and chemical heterogeneities. The material was synthesized using mesoporous silica as a template through a chemical vapour deposition process. It has an amorphous atomic structure, an ordered nanowire-based framework and random submicrometre voids, and shows an average Young's modulus that is 2-3 orders of magnitude smaller than that of single-crystalline silicon. In addition, we used the heterogeneous silicon mesostructures to design a lipid-bilayer-supported bioelectric interface that is remotely controlled and temporally transient, and that permits non-genetic and subcellular optical modulation of the electrophysiology dynamics in single dorsal root ganglia neurons. Our findings suggest that the biomimetic expansion of silicon into heterogeneous and deformable forms can open up opportunities in extracellular biomaterial or bioelectric systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1023-1030
Number of pages8
JournalNature materials
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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