IEEE Spectrum – For the first time, researchers have developed a microchip that is powered by the same energy-rich molecules that fuel living cells, researchers say. This advance could one day lead to devices that are implanted within cells and harvest biological energy to operate.
The molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) stores chemical energy and is used inside cells to ferry energy from where it is generated to where it is consumed. The new microchip relies on enzymes known as sodium-potassium ATPases. These molecules break down ATP to release energy the enzymes use to pump sodium and potassium ions across membranes, generating an electrical potential during the process.