Concept: Electrochemical cell
We have developed an implantable fuel cell that generates power through glucose oxidation, producing 3.4 μW cm(-2) steady-state power and up to 180 μW cm(-2) peak power. The fuel cell is manufactured using a novel approach, employing semiconductor fabrication techniques, and is therefore well suited for manufacture together with integrated circuits on a single silicon wafer. Thus, it can help enable implantable microelectronic systems with long-lifetime power sources that harvest energy from their surrounds. The fuel reactions are mediated by robust, solid state catalysts. Glucose is oxidized at the nanostructured surface of an activated platinum anode. Oxygen is reduced to water at the surface of a self-assembled network of single-walled carbon nanotubes, embedded in a Nafion film that forms the cathode and is exposed to the biological environment. The catalytic electrodes are separated by a Nafion membrane. The availability of fuel cell reactants, oxygen and glucose, only as a mixture in the physiologic environment, has traditionally posed a design challenge: Net current production requires oxidation and reduction to occur separately and selectively at the anode and cathode, respectively, to prevent electrochemical short circuits. Our fuel cell is configured in a half-open geometry that shields the anode while exposing the cathode, resulting in an oxygen gradient that strongly favors oxygen reduction at the cathode. Glucose reaches the shielded anode by diffusing through the nanotube mesh, which does not catalyze glucose oxidation, and the Nafion layers, which are permeable to small neutral and cationic species. We demonstrate computationally that the natural recirculation of cerebrospinal fluid around the human brain theoretically permits glucose energy harvesting at a rate on the order of at least 1 mW with no adverse physiologic effects. Low-power brain-machine interfaces can thus potentially benefit from having their implanted units powered or recharged by glucose fuel cells.
ABSTRACT Fe(II)-oxidizing aerobic bacteria are poorly understood, due in part to the difficulties involved in laboratory cultivation. Specific challenges include (i) providing a steady supply of electrons as Fe(II) while (ii) managing rapid formation of insoluble Fe(III) oxide precipitates and (iii) maintaining oxygen concentrations in the micromolar range to minimize abiotic Fe(II) oxidation. Electrochemical approaches offer an opportunity to study bacteria that require problematic electron donors or acceptors in their respiration. In the case of Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria, if the electron transport machinery is able to oxidize metals at the outer cell surface, electrodes poised at potentials near those of natural substrates could serve as electron donors, eliminating concentration issues, side reactions, and mineral end products associated with metal oxidation. To test this hypothesis, the marine isolate Mariprofundus ferrooxydans PV-1, a neutrophilic obligate Fe(II)-oxidizing autotroph, was cultured using a poised electrode as the sole energy source. When cells grown in Fe(II)-containing medium were transferred into a three-electrode electrochemical cell, a cathodic (negative) current representing electron uptake by bacteria was detected, and it increased over a period of weeks. Cultures scraped from a portion of the electrode and transferred into sterile reactors consumed electrons at a similar rate. After three transfers in the absence of Fe(II), electrode-grown biofilms were studied to determine the relationship between donor redox potential and respiration rate. Electron microscopy revealed that under these conditions, M. ferrooxydans PV-1 attaches to electrodes and does not produce characteristic iron oxide stalks but still appears to exhibit bifurcate cell division. IMPORTANCE Electrochemical cultivation, supporting growth of bacteria with a constant supply of electron donors or acceptors, is a promising tool for studying lithotrophic species in the laboratory. Major pitfalls present in standard cultivation methods used for metal-oxidizing microbes can be avoided by the use of an electrode as the sole electron donor. Electrochemical cultivation also offers a window into the poorly understood metabolism of microbes such as obligate Fe(II), Mn(II), or S(0) oxidizers by replacing the electron source with the controlled surface of an electrode. The elucidation of redox-dependent behavior of these microbes could enhance industrial applications tuned to oxidation of specific metals, provide insight into how bacteria evolved to compete with oxygen for reactive metal species, and model geochemical impacts of their metabolism in the environment.
Collisions of excitation pulses in dissipative systems lead usually to their annihilation. In this paper, we report electrochemical experiments exhibiting more complex pulse interaction with collision survival and pulse splitting, phenomena that have rarely been observed experimentally and are only poorly understood theoretically. Using spatially resolved in-situ Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) in the attenuated total reflection configuration, we monitored reaction pulses during the electrochemical oxidation of CO on Pt thin film electrodes in a flow cell. The system forms quasi-1d pulses that align parallel to the flow and propagate perpendicular to it. The pulses split once in a while, generating a second solitary wave in the backward moving direction. Upon collision, the waves penetrate each other in a soliton-like manner. These unusual pulse dynamics could be reproduced with a 3-component reaction-diffusion-migration model with two inhibitor species, one of them exhibiting a long-range spatial coupling. The simulations shed light on existence criteria of such dissipative solitons.
Extensive evidence has shown that long-range charge transport can occur along double helical DNA, but active control (switching) of single-DNA conductance with an external field has not yet been demonstrated. Here we demonstrate conductance switching in DNA by replacing a DNA base with a redox group. By applying an electrochemical (EC) gate voltage to the molecule, we switch the redox group between the oxidized and reduced states, leading to reversible switching of the DNA conductance between two discrete levels. We further show that monitoring the individual conductance switching allows the study of redox reaction kinetics and thermodynamics at single molecular level using DNA as a probe. Our theoretical calculations suggest that the switch is due to the change in the energy level alignment of the redox states relative to the Fermi level of the electrodes.
We report on the superior electrochemical properties, in-vivo performance and long term stability under electrical stimulation of a new electrode material fabricated from lithographically patterned glassy carbon. For a direct comparison with conventional metal electrodes, similar ultra-flexible, micro-electrocorticography (μ-ECoG) arrays with platinum (Pt) or glassy carbon (GC) electrodes were manufactured. The GC microelectrodes have more than 70% wider electrochemical window and 70% higher CTC (charge transfer capacity) than Pt microelectrodes of similar geometry. Moreover, we demonstrate that the GC microelectrodes can withstand at least 5 million pulses at 0.45 mC/cm(2) charge density with less than 7.5% impedance change, while the Pt microelectrodes delaminated after 1 million pulses. Additionally, poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)-poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT-PSS) was selectively electrodeposited on both sets of devices to specifically reduce their impedances for smaller diameters (<60 μm). We observed that PEDOT-PSS adhered significantly better to GC than Pt, and allowed drastic reduction of electrode size while maintaining same amount of delivered current. The electrode arrays biocompatibility was demonstrated through in-vitro cell viability experiments, while acute in vivo characterization was performed in rats and showed that GC microelectrode arrays recorded somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) with an almost twice SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) when compared to the Pt ones.
Objective. Hypertension is the largest threat to patient health and a burden to health care systems. Despite various options, 30% of patients do not respond sufficiently to medical treatment. Mechanoreceptors in the aortic arch relay blood pressure (BP) levels through vagal nerve (VN) fibers to the brainstem and trigger the baroreflex, lowering the BP. Selective electrical stimulation of these nerve fibers reduced BP in rats. However, there is no technique described to localize and stimulate these fibers inside the VN without inadvertent stimulation of non-baroreceptive fibers causing side effects like bradycardia and bradypnea. Approach. We present a novel method for selective VN stimulation to reduce BP without the aforementioned side effects. Baroreceptor compound activity of rat VN (n = 5) was localized using a multichannel cuff electrode, true tripolar recording and a coherent averaging algorithm triggered by BP or electrocardiogram. Main results. Tripolar stimulation over electrodes near the barofibers reduced the BP without triggering significant bradycardia and bradypnea. The BP drop was adjusted to 60% of the initial value by varying the stimulation pulse width and duration, and lasted up to five times longer than the stimulation. Significance. The presented method is robust to impedance changes, independent of the electrode’s relative position, does not compromise the nerve and can run on implantable, ultra-low power signal processors.
Electrochemical water splitting requires efficient water oxidation catalysts to accelerate the sluggish kinetics of water oxidation reaction. Here, we report a promisingly dendritic core-shell nickel-iron-copper metal/metal oxide electrode, prepared via dealloying with an electrodeposited nickel-iron-copper alloy as a precursor, as the catalyst for water oxidation. The as-prepared core-shell nickel-iron-copper electrode is characterized with porous oxide shells and metallic cores. This tri-metal-based core-shell nickel-iron-copper electrode exhibits a remarkable activity toward water oxidation in alkaline medium with an overpotential of only 180 mV at a current density of 10 mA cm-2. The core-shell NiFeCu electrode exhibits pH-dependent oxygen evolution reaction activity on the reversible hydrogen electrode scale, suggesting that non-concerted proton-electron transfers participate in catalyzing the oxygen evolution reaction. To the best of our knowledge, the as-fabricated core-shell nickel-iron-copper is one of the most promising oxygen evolution catalysts.
Silicon-Few Layer Graphene (Si-FLG) composite electrodes are investigated using a scalable electrode manufacturing method. A comprehensive study on the electrochemical performance and the impedance response is measured using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The study demonstrates that the incorporation of few-layer graphene (FLG) results in significant improvement in terms of cyclability, electrode resistance and diffusion properties. Additionally, the diffusion impedance responses that occur during the phase changes in silicon is elucidated through Staircase Potentio Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (SPEIS): a more comprehensive and straightforward approach than previous state-of-charge based diffusion studies.
Raman spectra and images of a living L929 (NCTC) cell have been measured with 532 nm excitation. Both reduced and oxidized forms of cytochromes b and c (cyt b and cyt c) have been observed in situ without any pretreatment. The redox states of cyts b and c have been assessed quantitatively with a spectral analysis. It has been found that reduced cyt c is more abundant than oxidized cyt c, while oxidized cyt b is slightly more abundant than reduced cyt b in a living cell. (© 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim).
Replacing precious and nondurable Pt catalysts with cheap and commercially available materials to facilitate sluggish cathodic oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is a key issue in the development of fuel cell technology. The recently developed cost effective and highly stable metal-free catalysts reveal comparable catalytic activity and significantly better fuel tolerance than that of current Pt-based catalysts; therefore, they can serve as feasible Pt alternatives for the next generation of ORR electrocatalysts. Their promising electrocatalytic properties and acceptable costs greatly promote the R&D of fuel cell technology. This review provides an overview of recent advances in state-of-the-art nanostructured metal-free electrocatalysts including nitrogen-doped carbons, graphitic-carbon nitride (g-C(3) N(4) )-based hybrids, and 2D graphene-based materials. A special emphasis is placed on the molecular design of these electrocatalysts, origin of their electrochemical reactivity, and ORR pathways. Finally, some perspectives are highlighted on the development of more efficient ORR electrocatalysts featuring high stability, low cost, and enhanced performance, which are the key factors to accelerate the commercialization of fuel cell technology.