Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carbon nanoobjects to facilitate the construction of futuristic power sources

Date:
September 29, 2010
Source:
Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Summary:
Scientists from Poland are working on electrodes that have surfaces covered with layers of carbon nanoparticles and enzymes. These electrodes can be used to produce modern sensors and power sources, including such futuristic ones as biological fuel cells installed inside the human body and fueled by substances contained in blood.

Modern electrodes covered with carbon nanolayers are generated in the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Credit: IPC PAS, Grzegorz Krzyżewski

Scientists from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw are working on electrodes that have surfaces covered with layers of carbon nanoparticles and enzymes. These electrodes can be used to produce modern sensors and power sources, including such futuristic ones as biological fuel cells installed inside the human body and fueled by substances contained in blood.

One of the most popular methods of covering surfaces with nanoparticles is the Layer-by-Layer method (LbL), known since 1997. According to this method, a substrate is covered with subsequent layers of objects with opposite electric charges. This method is applied in particular to create three-dimensional structures made of polymers only or alternating layers of polymers and nanoparticles on the surface of electrodes. "From some time it has been known that many electrode reactions proceed faster, more efficiently and selectively on surfaces covered by, for instance, nanoparticles of gold or carbon. So, we decided to construct structures consisting of nanoparticles only and examine how they affect the properties of electrodes after they have been further modified by enzymes," says Prof. Marcin Opałło from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS).

Electrodes covered by thin layers of carbon nanoparticles could be applied to, among other things, biological fuel cells used as sources of power for medical devices placed in the human body. Currently, the replacement of power sources in such devices as pacemakers requires invasive methods. Scientists worldwide have carried out research aimed at creating a cell fuelled by a substance dissolved in blood: for example, glucose and an oxidizing agent -- oxygen, which is also in blood. The task is difficult because a conductive support must be found which will allow the permanent deposition of enzyme in such a way that it would exchange electrons directly with the electrode. This was finally achieved in the IPC PAS thanks to depositing carbon nanoparticles on the electrode. "The result is surprising because enzyme usually requires additional compounds -- electron shuttles dissolved in the solution. There are simply no such compounds in our experiments," says Katarzyna Szot, a PhD student from the IPC PAS. It is particularly important that the electrodes being examined work in the solutions that have similar components as blood plasma.

Carbon nanoparticles used in the experiments carried out in the IPC PAS are smaller than 10 nanometers. In the context of future applications, it is important that they are cheap and easily accessible. The process of covering the substrate -- in the experiments these are glass plates with a layer of an electric conductor -- is simple and quick. The plate is immersed for one minute in the suspension of carbon nanoparticles, then it is taken out, rinsed, moved to another suspension to deposit a subsequent layer, and all the actions are repeated several times. The finished carbon layers are about 100 nanometers thick.

As carbon nanoparticles themselves are small, spaces between them are also very small, which makes the access to active surfaces located deeper in the layer more difficult. As a result the electrodes are not as efficient as they could be. In the future, it will probably be possible to improve their properties due to the modification of the process of layer depositing. In the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the PAS, experiments are just beginning on the application of carbon nanoparticles layers in the presence of small polystyrene balls with diameters of several hundred nanometers. After each layer has been created, scientists intend to coat it with polymer in order to strengthen the structure mechanically and then wash away the balls. The multilayer structure obtained thanks to this method would have larger pores facilitating access of oxygen, which would result in the increased reaction efficiency.

Electrochemical sensors will probably become another area where electrodes with carbon nanoparticles layers can be applied -- e.g. to determine the level of dopamine in relation to ascorbic acid and uric acid. This problem is considered serious in analytical chemistry since the two last substances hinder the analysis of samples due to the overlapping of their electrochemical signals. Covering the electrodes with nanoparticles allows the signals to be separated and sensitivity to be increased.

In addition to carbon nanolayers, scientists from Prof. Opałło's team are creating, in a similar way, three-dimensional structures from nanoparticles of metals and metal oxides, carbon nanotubes and nanoparticles of modified glass.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences. "Carbon nanoobjects to facilitate the construction of futuristic power sources." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100929084056.htm>.
Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences. (2010, September 29). Carbon nanoobjects to facilitate the construction of futuristic power sources. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100929084056.htm
Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences. "Carbon nanoobjects to facilitate the construction of futuristic power sources." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100929084056.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) Argentina doesn't only have Lionel Messi the footballer, it has now also acquired "Mesi" the drone system which monitors undeclared mansions, swimming pools and soy fields to curb tax evasion in the country. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 29, 2014) CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, celebrates 60 years of bringing nations together through science. As Joanna Partridge reports from inside the famous science centre it's also planning to turn the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator back on after an upgrade. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

This 'Invisibility Cloak' Is Simpler Than Most

Newsy (Sep. 28, 2014) Researchers from the University of Rochester have created a type of invisibility cloak with simple focal lenses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins