Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Shine a Light Instead of Changing the Battery

01.12.2011
Light-driven implantable converter for bioelectronics devices

Pacemakers and other implanted medical devices require electric current to operate. Changing the battery requires an additional operation, which is an added stress on the patient. A Japanese team led by Eijiro Miyako at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has now introduced an alternative approach in the journal Angewandte Chemie: an implantable converter that can simply be irradiated with laser light through the skin.

Bioelectronic devices help many patients to live longer and to experience a better quality of life. Pacemakers are not the only electronic implants used today; there are also “pain pacemakers” that alleviate severe chronic pain. These are neurostimulators that send electrical impulses directly to the spinal cord to block the signal pathway that transmits pain to the brain. Another example is the implantable drug pump, which can direct painkillers near the spinal cord or provide insulin for diabetics.

Such electronic implants are usually powered by lithium batteries that last at most ten years. The battery must then be changed in another operation. A rechargeable version is thus desirable. Various alternatives are currently available, such as electric cells that are driven by glucose within the body, or muscle-driven dynamos. The disadvantage is that the production of current cannot be controlled. Other approaches operate through electromagnetic current generation, but this can disrupt electronic devices in the vicinity.

The Japanese team has now developed an interesting alternative, a device that delivers current upon irradiation with a laser. At the heart of the system are very finely divided carbon nanotubes embedded in a silicon matrix. These absorb laser light and convert the light energy very effectively to heat. This heat energy is in turn converted into electric current by the tiny device. This works through the Seebeck effect: in an electrical circuit made of two different conductors—in this case a special arrangement of semiconductor materials—a temperature difference between the contacts results in a small voltage.

Only the side of the device coated with the silicon/carbon nanotube composite that gets irradiated heats up, which provides the required temperature difference. Because the carbon nanotubes absorb very well in a range of wavelengths that can pass through tissue, the device, which need be no larger than a half-centimeter cube, can be implanted under the skin. Simple irradiation should then allow it to generate enough voltage to charge the battery of a pacemaker or other device.

The researchers are now working on making the energy conversion of the device even more efficient and to increase its safety for medical applications.

About the Author
Dr Eijiro Miyako is a researcher of the Health Research Institute (HRI) at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan. His main specialty is nanocarbon technology, and his research focuses on the development of highly functional nanocarbons for biotechnology and medical science.
Author: Eijiro Miyako, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Ikeda (Japan), mailto:e-miyako@aist.go.jp
Title: A Photo-Thermal-Electrical Converter Based On Carbon Nanotubes for Bioelectronic Applications

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201106136

| Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>