SEOUL, March 13 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean researchers have developed an implantable electronic medical device (IEMD) that is capable of providing energy storage using natural ions as electrolytes in a supercapacitator – simply put, an IEMD with a battery that self-charges on body fluids.
Led by professors Roh Kwang-chul of the Korea Institute of Ceramic Engineering & Technology and Huh Yun-suk of Inha University’s Department of Biological Engineering, the team was inspired by the fact that human fluids contain elements such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride ions.
Such constituents, researchers thought, could be used as electrolytes to power batteries.
Following this guiding principle, the team developed an IEMD with biocompatible electrodes that include multi-walled carbon nanotubes (positive) and phosphidated activated carbon (negative).
Once implanted into lab mice, both electrodes showed stable performance using ions inside the mice’s body fluids, officials said. No toxic reaction was observed while the battery repeated its drain-recharge cycle.
According to researchers, the technology could be used in IEMDs such as pacemakers and spinal cord stimulators given the battery’s semi-permanent property, noting that conventional devices must have their batteries periodically replaced through surgical operations.
The degradation and toxicity resulting from traditional IEMDs can also be avoided using the new device, the researchers added. “We expect our discovery to serve as a base technology for the development of new nano-medical devices and their commercialization.”
The research was funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, and its full findings were published last month in Nano Energy.
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)