Bio-inspired Polymer Membranes
Bio-inspired polymer membranes are artificial membranes designed to be combined with biomolecules (proteins, enzymes, mimics, nucleic acids), and provide both an increased mechanical stability of the overall system and an environment to preserve the functionality of the biomolecules. Here, we present synthetic membranes resulting from the self-assembly of amphiphilic block copolymers, both as 3D assemblies (polymer vesicles), and as 2D planar membranes (free standing films or membranes on solid/porous supports). Whilst in their early stage of research, the advantages of bio-inspired membranes support them as ideal candidates for the development of hybrid materials with multifunctionality and selectivity resulting from the presence of the biomolecules, and with stability and robustness due to the synthetic membrane. By serving as mimics of natural membranes with improved properties, bio-inspired synthetic membranes are on focus today for various applications in domains such as medicine, environment, and technology.