Chemistry

A Distinct Take on Flex Fuel

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Science  11 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5946, pp. 1321
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_1321a
CREDIT: TOMINAKA ET AL., ENERGY ENVIRON. SCI. 2, 10.1039/B915389F (2009)

Technological miniaturization is rapidly reducing the macroscopic surface footprints needed for applications ranging from electronic circuits to chemical reactors. In this landscape, concomitant miniaturization of power sources such as batteries and fuel cells would be helpful to render chip systems self-sufficient, eliminating the need for connections to bulky external sources. Tominaka et al. present progress toward development of an efficient fuel cell roughly the size of a postage stamp, fabricated on flexible plastic to reduce the cost and brittleness associated with a silicon-based prototype. The device was prepared through a combination of hot embossing, photolithography, and electrodeposition, and operated with methanol fuel and ambient oxygen. The authors propose to improve the observed low power density by increasing the relative surface areas of the catalysts.

Energy Environ. Sci. 2, 10.1039/b915389f (2009).

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