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'Droplet' Battery Microscale Power Pack

A 'droplet' battery has been created by University of Oxford researchers; it is a miniature bio-integrated device, capable of directly stimulating cells.

('Droplet' battery microscale soft ionic power source
Left: Enlarged version of the droplet power source, for visualization. 500 nL volume droplets were encapsulated in a flexible and compressible organogel. Scale bar: 10 mm.
Right: Zoom in view of a standard-sized droplet power source, made of 50 nL droplets. Scale bar: 500 μm. Credit: Yujia Zhang)

Small bio-integrated devices that can interact with and stimulate cells could have important therapeutic applications, such as targeted drug delivery and promoting faster wound recovery. A major obstacle, however, has been providing an efficient microscale power source for these devices, a challenge that has remained unsolved.

To address this, researchers from the University of Oxford’s Department of Chemistry have developed a miniature power source capable of altering the activity of cultured human nerve cells. Inspired by how electric eels generate electricity, the device uses internal ion gradients to generate energy.

The miniaturized soft power source is produced by depositing a chain of five nanolitre-sized droplets of a conductive hydrogel (a 3D network of polymer chains containing a large quantity of absorbed water). Each droplet has a different composition so that a salt concentration gradient is created across the chain. The droplets are separated from their neighbors by lipid bilayers, which provide mechanical support while preventing ions from flowing between the droplets.

(Via SciTechDaily.)

Alfred Bester, in his remarkable 1956 novel The Stars My Desination, envisioned a tiny battery that could power an augmented nervous system to improve performance. The operation...

...had transformed him into an extraordinary fighting machine. Every nerve plexus had been rewired, microscopic transistors and transformers had been buried in muscle and bone, a minute platinum outlet showed at the base of his spine. To this Foyle affixed a power pack the size of a pea and switched it on. His body began an internal electronic vibration that was almost mechanical...
(Read more about the internal body power pack)

(Via SciTechDaily.)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/3/2023)

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