An Edible Rechargeable Battery

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Edible electronics is a growing field that aims to produce digestible devices using only food ingredients and additives, thus addressing many of the shortcomings of ingestible electronic devices. Edible electronic devices will have major implications for gastrointestinal tract monitoring, therapeutics, as well as rapid food quality monitoring. Recent research has demonstrated the feasibility of edible circuits and sensors, but to realize fully edible electronic devices edible power sources are required, of which there have been very few examples. Drawing inspiration from living organisms, which use redox cofactors to power biochemical machines, a rechargeable edible battery formed from materials eaten in everyday life is developed. The battery is realized by immobilizing riboflavin and quercetin, common food ingredients and dietary supplements, on activated carbon, a widespread food additive. Riboflavin is used as the anode, while quercetin is used as the cathode. By encapsulating the electrodes in beeswax, a fully edible battery is fabricated capable of supplying power to small electronic devices. The proof-of-concept battery cell operated at 0.65 V, sustaining a current of 48 µA for 12 min. The presented proof-of-concept will open the doors to new edible electronic applications, enabling safer and easier medical diagnostics, treatments, and unexplored ways to monitor food quality.


FiveWordsForTheFuture - Oct 1, 2023 | Batteries, Energy, New Materials
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