Biofuel Cells with Gold Nanoparticles Boosts High Power

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Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Korea University developed a new fuel cell with enhanced energy using gold nanoparticles assembled on cotton.

The researchers created a high conducting electrode with gold nanoparticles to increase twice as much power as conventional biofuel cells. The new developed cell could be paired with batteries or supercapacitors to provide a hybrid power source, which could be used in variety of medical devices. They connected the enzyme used to oxidize glucose with an electrode. The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications on October 26, 2018.

Using layer-by-layer assembly technique, the team used to fabricate gold electrodes, which allowed both electrocatalytic cathode and conductive substrate for the anode to boost the power capacity up to 3.7 milliwatts per square centimeter.

Seung Woo Lee, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, said: “We could use this device as a continuous power source for converting chemical energy from glucose in the body to electrical energy. The layer-by-layer deposition technique precisely controls deposition of both the gold nanoparticle and enzyme, dramatically increasing the power density of this fuel cell.”

The researchers made the anode by applying glucose oxidase enzyme in layers alternating it with TREN, an amine-functionalized molecule. The cathode was prepared using gold-covered electrodes, with electrocatalytic capabilities. They observed that the porosity of cotton fibers allowed an increment in the number of gold layers compared to existing nylon fiber. Moreover, the biofuel cell could be used to power medical devices for temporary or timed use.

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