As a part of a major breakthrough in medical transplants and bio-fuel cell technology, University of Georgia (UGA) Professor Jason Locklin and graduate students Nicholas Marshall and Kyle Sontag have developed tiny brushes to power pacemakers, prosthetic limbs and cochlear limbs with the help of the bio-fuel cells. These polymer brushes are made of thiophene and benzene molecules.
The technology is based on the “grafting from” approach wherein molecular wires grow over the metal surfaces at very high density. Locklin says that these organic semiconductors, utilizing a controlled polymerization technique, change their properties owing to their sizes and repetitive units. The ultra thin films are between 5 and 50 nanometers — too small to see, even under a high-powered optical microscope, says a UGA release.
Locklin is hopeful of using the technique to conduct intricate implants and surgeries safely. Still, appropriate applications need to be developed first.