Believe it or not, all batteries don’t power electric cars or store energy from renewable sources. Some provide small amounts of power to operate an LED or a medical sensor — functions that can make a critical difference to people living in remote areas far from any electrical grid. At a conference of the American Chemical Society this week, researchers from the State University of New York at Binghampton will present their work on a groundbreaking paper battery powered by bacteria. “Paper has unique advantages as a material for biosensors,” researcher Seokheun Choi tells Science Daily . “It is inexpensive, disposable, flexible, and has a high surface area. However, sophisticated sensors require a power supply. Commercial batteries are too wasteful and expensive, and they can’t be integrated into paper substrates. The best solution is a paper-based bio-battery.” Disposable paper-based biosensors already exist for detecting diseases, monitoring health conditions, and detecting environmental contaminants but having access to an external source of power would significantly increase their diagnostic capabilities. The search for inexpensive, disposable batteries to supply the power needed is what led Choi and his team to pursue their quest to develop inexpensive paper batteries powered by bacteria. The paper […]

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