Two-dimensional graphene paper supported flexible enzymatic fuel cells†
Application of enzymatic biofuel cells (EBFCs) in wearable or implantable biomedical devices requires flexible and biocompatible electrode materials. To this end, freestanding and low-cost graphene paper is emerging among the most promising support materials. In this work, we have exploited the potential of using graphene paper with a two-dimensional active surface (2D-GP) as a carrier for enzyme immobilization to fabricate EBFCs, representing the first case of flexible graphene papers directly used in EBFCs. The 2D-GP electrodes were prepared via the assembly of graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets into a paper-like architecture, followed by reduction to form layered and cross-linked networks with good mechanical strength, high conductivity and little dependence on the degree of mechanical bending. 2D-GP electrodes served as both a current collector and an enzyme loading substrate that can be used directly as a bioanode and biocathode. Pyrroloquinoline quinone dependent glucose dehydrogenase (PQQ-GDH) and bilirubin oxidase (BOx) adsorbed on the 2D-GP electrodes both retain their biocatalytic activities. Electron transfer (ET) at the bioanode required Meldola blue (MB) as an ET mediator to shuttle electrons between PQQ-GDH and the electrode, but direct electron transfer (DET) at the biocathode was achieved. The resulting glucose/oxygen EBFC displayed a notable mechanical flexibility, with a wide open circuit voltage range up to 0.665 V and a maximum power density of approximately 4 μW cm−2 both fully competitive with reported values for related EBFCs, and with mechanical flexibility and facile enzyme immobilization as novel merits.