New biological supercapacitor implants without batteries

Tinuku ~ UCLA and the University of Connecticut researchers have built a battery-free medical implant device that uses direct energy from the human body. A biological supercapacitor is friendly and works using charged particles or ions from liquids in the human body.

Tinuku New biological supercapacitor implants without batteries

Researchers at UCLA and the University of Connecticut report results to the Advanced Energy Materials journal about new devices harmless to the body's biological system and serve as a durable pacemaker compared to other implantable medical devices.

The pacemaker to help regulate abnormal heart rhythms and other implantable devices is supported by traditional batteries that are eventually exhausted and must be replaced through repeated operation procedures. Batteries containing toxic materials can also harm patients if leaking.

The researchers designed energy storage on new devices without batteries, supercapacitor uses electrolytes from biological fluids such as blood serum and urine, while other devices serve to harvest energy from heat changes and convert human body motion into electricity.

"The series of supercapacitor and energy harvesters are a source of sustained strength for lifetime implant devices that do not need to be replaced," said Maher El-Kady of UCLA.

Traditional pacemakers using batteries have up to 8 millimeters, the size of a coin and half the room is filled with batteries. New Supercapacitor is only 1 micrometer thick as able to get into the crevices of the body without mechanical damage.

"Unlike battery use that involves toxic chemicals and electrolytes to conserve energy, these biosupercapacitors store energy by utilizing the available ions in blood serum," says Islam Mosa from the University of Connecticut.

The small device consists of a carbon nanomaterial called graphene layered with a human protein that is modified as an electrode and an electrical conductor energy harvester. The new platform has the potential for the development of next-generation implant devices for bone, brain and so on.