A low cost, disposable cable-shaped Al-air battery for portable biosensors

Gareth Fotouhi, Caleb Ogier, Jong Hoon Kim, Sooyeun Kim, Guozhong Cao, Amy Q. Shen, John Kramlich, Jae Hyun Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


A disposable cable-shaped flexible battery is presented using a simple, low cost manufacturing process. The working principle of an aluminum-air galvanic cell is used for the cable-shaped battery to power portable and point-of-care medical devices. The battery is catalyzed with a carbon nanotube (CNT)-paper matrix. A scalable manufacturing process using a lathe is developed to wrap a paper layer and a CNT-paper matrix on an aluminum wire. The matrix is then wrapped with a silver-plated copper wire to form the battery cell. The battery is activated through absorption of electrolytes including phosphate-buffered saline, NaOH, urine, saliva, and blood into the CNT-paper matrix. The maximum electric power using a 10 mm-long battery cell is over 1.5 mW. As a demonstration, an LED is powered using two groups of four batteries in parallel connected in series. Considering the material composition and the cable-shaped configuration, the battery is fully disposable, flexible, and potentially compatible with portable biosensors through activation by either reagents or biological fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055011
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 19 2016


  • aluminum-air battery
  • battery
  • carbon nanotube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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