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Scientist creates five-cents origami battery

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scientist createNew York: A researcher has used origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, to develop an inexpensive, bacteria-powered battery which can be used to run paper-based biosensors to diagnose diseases.

Seokheun Choi from the State University of New York at Binghamton developed the battery which generates power from microbial respiration and costs just five cents to build.

It delivers enough energy to run a paper-based biosensor with nothing more than a drop of bacteria-containing liquid.

“Dirty water has a lot of organic matter. Any type of organic material can be the source of bacteria for the bacterial metabolism,” Choi said.

The new method should be especially useful to anyone working in remote areas with limited resources, Choi said.

Since paper is inexpensive and readily available, many experts working on disease control and prevention have seized upon it as a key material in creating diagnostic tools for the developing world.

However, paper-based biosensors must be paired with hand-held devices for analysis.

Choi said he envisions a self-powered system in which a paper-based battery would create enough energy to run the biosensor.

Creating such a system is the goal of a three-year grant of nearly USD 300,000 he has received from the National Science Foundation in the US.

The battery, which folds into a square the size of a matchbook, uses an inexpensive air-breathing cathode created with nickel sprayed onto one side of ordinary office paper.

The anode is screen printed with carbon paints, creating a hydrophilic zone with wax boundaries.

The research is published in the journal Nano Energy.


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