Many of the limitations of existing electronic medical implants, such as pacemakers and defibrillators, arise from the internal batteries. The batteries are rigir, requiring the implants to have a strong metal structure that makes them bulky. At Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland researchers have been working on developing supercapacitors that can store a great deal of electric charge while being flexible and biocompatible with the human body.
Their latest prototype supercapacitor is made of an organic polymer-biopolymer materials and non-flammable electrolytes, making it safe for implantation. It is made of easily sourced natural materials that allow it to be manufactured at a reasonable cost. Since there’s no fear of leaking from the device, there’s no need to have a tough case to surround it.
In addition to being applicable for implants, the same supercapacitor technology may be useful for body-worn electronics that conform to the natural curves of our skin.
From a study in journal Energy Technology:
The flexible conducting polymer–biopolymer composite-based devices developed by Marta Lorenzo and Dr Geetha Srinivasan at Queen’s University Ionic Liquid Laboratories, Belfast, by exploiting the multifunctional role of ionic liquids resulted in ultrathin flexible supercapacitors with excellent cycle lives of over 15000 cycles with nearly 100 % efficiency and a specific capacitance of roughly 5 mF g−1, which is sufficient to activate biosensors.
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