Navigation Links
UGA researchers achieve breakthrough in effort to develop tiny biological fuel cells
Date:6/19/2009

University of Georgia researchers have developed a successful way to grow molecular wire brushes that conduct electrical charges, a first step in developing biological fuel cells that could power pacemakers, cochlear implants and prosthetic limbs. The journal Chemical Science calls the technique "a significant breakthrough for nanotechnology."

UGA chemist Jason Locklin and graduate students Nicholas Marshall and Kyle Sontag grew polymer brushes, made up of chains of thiophene and benzene, aromatic molecules sometimes used as solvents, attached to metal surfaces as ultra-thin films.

"The molecular wires are actually polymer chains that have been grown from a metal surface at very high density," said Locklin, who has a joint appointment in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Science and on the Faculty of Engineering. "The structure of the film resembles a toothbrush, where the chains of conjugated polymers are like the bristles. We call these types of coatings polymer brushes. To get chains to pack tightly in extended conformations, they must be grown from the surface, a method we call the 'grafting from' approach."

Using this approach, the scientists laid down a single layer of thiophene as the film's initial coating, then built up chains of thiophene or benzene using a controlled polymerization technique. Their research, funded by the Petroleum Research Foundation, was published in the June issue of the journal, Chemical Communications.

"The beauty of organic semiconductors is how their properties change, based on size and the number of repeating units," said Locklin, who is a member of UGA's Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center. Thiophene itself is an insulator, said Locklin, "but by linking many thiophene molecules together in a controlled fashion, the polymers have conducting properties."

More importantly, he said, "this technique gives us the control to systematically vary polymer architecture, opening up the possibility for various uses in electronic devices such as sensors, transistors and diodes." The ultra-thin films are between 5 and 50 nanometerstoo small to see, even under a high-powered optical microscope.

Locklin said it's difficult to harness a fuel source in the body, such as glucose, for use in biofuel cells that could replace the need for batteries in an implanted device. And while humans have enzymes in the body that do a good job of converting chemical energy into electrical energy, "they aren't very useful in this application because they have natural protective insulating layers that prevent good electron transport from active site to electrode," he said. "Hopefully our molecular wires will provide a better conduit for charges to flow."

While "flexible electronics" is a large and growing area of research, it's still in its infancy, Locklin said. "For example, we don't yet understand all of the fundamental physics involved in how electrical charges move through organic materials."

The next step for Locklin is to develop appropriate applications. For example, his polymer brush technique might be used in a range of devices that interface with living tissue, such as biochemical sensors, prosthetic limbs, pacemakers or bionic ears. "The film itself might be used in transistorsor in photovoltaic devices such as solar cells," said Locklin.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jason Locklin
jlocklin@chem.uga.edu
706-542-2359
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Mayo researchers: Dramatic outcomes in prostate cancer study
2. Researchers compare different systems of measuring treatment intensity in hypertension care
3. Jackson, Rockefeller obesity researchers share Shaw Prize
4. TGen and USC researchers find genetic markers to help fight diabetes
5. Vanderbilt researchers pioneer an advanced sepsis detection and management system
6. USC researchers identify DNA mutation that occurs at beginning point of T-cell lymphoma
7. Researchers identify 4 new targets for breast cancer
8. Researchers at Case Western Reserve discover a new way the body fights fungal infection
9. Off-label morning sickness drug deemed safe for fetuses -- Ben-Gurion U. researchers
10. Researchers identify four new targets for breast cancer
11. VBI researchers develop new method for breast cancer biomarker discovery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... Worth, TX (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 ... ... financial planning agency serving communities in the greater Dallas, Miami, and Raleigh regions, ... young boy fighting to overcome a rare and deadly chromosome abnormality. , After ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The International Association of Eating ... excellence for the field of eating disorders, announces the opening of early registration ... Orlando, Florida at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate. , The annual ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many families have long-term insurance that covers care ... have a waiver for care if the client has a cognitive impairment diagnosis. ... for care, is often waived, so the benefits from their insurance start immediately,” said ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... giving viewers the lowdown on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," ... on current events and innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and San Francisco dentists, Dr. ... Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans are estimated to suffer ... Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 percent of people with ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)... , Oct. 4, 2017 ... single-use, self-contained, illuminating medical devices, today announced regulatory ... Health Surveillance Agency (or Agência Nacional de Vigilância ... first single-use, cordless surgical retractor with integrated LED ... optimal access, illumination and exposure of a tissue ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017 The Rebound mobile app is poised to ... the tide of prescription drug addiction. The app empowers users ... and stepping down their dosage in a safe, controlled manner ... 2017; the first 100,000 people to sign up will enjoy ... ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... , Sept. 25, 2017   Montrium ... Master File solutions, today—from the IQPC Trial Master ... , NL)—announced that EastHORN Clinical Services has ... clinical programs and TMF management. EastHORN, a leading ... eTMF platform to increase transparency to enable greater ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: