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Ruano, G., Díaz, A., Tononi, J., Torras, J., Puiggalí, J., Alemán, C., (2020). Biohydrogel from unsaturated polyesteramide: Synthesis, properties and utilization as electrolytic medium for electrochemical supercapacitors Polymer Testing 82, 106300

The utilization of hydrogels derived from biopolymers as solid electrolyte (SE) of electrochemical supercapacitors (ESCs) is a topic of increasing interest because of their promising applications in biomedicine (e.g. for energy storage in autonomous implantable devices). In this work an unsaturated polyesteramide that contains phenylalanine, butenediol and fumarate as building blocks has been photo-crosslinked to obtain a hydrogel (UPEA-h). The structure of UPEA-h, which is characterized by a network of open interconnected pores surrounded by regions with compact morphology, favors ion transport, while the biodegradability and biocompatibility conferred by the α-amino acid unit and the ester group are appropriated for its usage in the biomedical field. Voltammetric and galvanostatic assays have been conducted to evaluate the behavior of UPEA-h when used as SE in ESCs with poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) electrodes. Hence, PEDOT/UPEA-h devices displayed supercapacitor response of up 179 F/g and capacitance retention higher than 90%. Moreover, the long-term stability, leakage-current, and self-discharging response of PEDOT/UPEA-h ESCs reflect the great potential of UPEA-h as ion-conductive electrolyte. Indeed, the performance of PEDOT/UPEA-h is higher than found in analogous devices constructed using other biohydrogels as SE (e.g. κ-carrageenan, poly-γ-glutamic acid and cellulose hydrogels).

Keywords: Energy storage, Hydrogel electronics, Ion conductivity, Photo-crosslinking, Wearable electronics

Saborío, M. G., Svelic, P., Casanovas, J., Ruano, G., Pérez-Madrigal, M. M., Franco, L., Torras, J., Estrany, F., Alemán, C., (2019). Hydrogels for flexible and compressible free standing cellulose supercapacitors European Polymer Journal 118, 347-357

Cellulose-based supercapacitors display important advantages in comparison with devices fabricated with other materials, regarding environmental friendliness, flexibility, cost and versatility. Recent progress in the field has been mainly focused on the utilization of cellulose fibres as: structural mechanical reinforcement of electrodes; precursors of electrically active carbon-based materials; or primary electrolytes that act as reservoirs of secondary electrolytes. In this work, a flexible, lightweight, robust, portable and manageable all-carboxymethyl cellulose symmetric supercapacitor has been obtained by assembling two electrodes based on carboxymethyl cellulose hydrogels to a solid electrolytic medium formulated with the same material. Hydrogels, which were made by cross-linking carboxymethyl cellulose paste with citric acid in water, rendered not only effective solid electrolytic media by simply loading NaCl but also electroactive electrodes. For the latter, conducting polymer microparticles, which were loaded into the hydrogel network during the physical cross-linking step, were appropriately connected through the in situ anodic polymerization of a similar conducting polymer in aqueous medium, thus creating conduction paths. The performance of the assembled supercapacitors has been proved by cyclic voltammetry, galvanostatic charge-discharge and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. This design opens a new window for the green and mass production of flexible cellulose-based supercapacitors.

Keywords: Conducting polymer, Energy storage, Flexible electrodes, In situ polymerization, Wearable electronics

Enshaei, H., Molina, B. G., del Valle, L. J., Estrany, F., Arnan, C., Puiggalí, J., Saperas, N., Alemán, C., (2019). Scaffolds for sustained release of ambroxol hydrochloride, a pharmacological chaperone that increases the activity of misfolded β-glucocerebrosidase. Macromolecular Bioscience 19, (8), 1900130

Ambroxol is a pharmacological chaperone (PC) for Gaucher disease that increases lysosomal activity of misfolded β-glucocerebrosidase (GCase) while displaying a safe toxicological profile. In this work, different poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)-based systems are developed to regulate the sustained release of small polar drugs in physiological environments. For this purpose, ambroxol is selected as test case since the encapsulation and release of PCs using polymeric scaffolds have not been explored yet. More specifically, ambroxol is successfully loaded in electrospun PCL microfibers, which are subsequently coated with additional PCL layers using dip-coating or spin-coating. The time needed to achieve 80% release of loaded ambroxol increases from ≈15 min for uncoated fibrous scaffolds to 3 days and 1 week for dip-coated and spin-coated systems, respectively. Furthermore, it is proven that the released drug maintains its bioactivity, protecting GCase against induced thermal denaturation.

Keywords: Electrospinning, Gaucher's disease, Lysosomal storage disorders, Misfolding diseases, Poly(ε-caprolactone), Polyester, Release regulation

Perera, A., Pardo, A., Barrettino, D., Hierlermann, A., Marco, S., (2010). Evaluation of fish spoilage by means of a single metal oxide sensor under temperature modulation Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 146, (2), 477-482

In this paper the feasibility of using metal oxide gas sensor technology for evaluating spoilage process for sea bream (Sparus aurata) is explored. It is shown that a single sensor under temperature modulation is able to find a correlation with the fish spoilage process. Results are obtained in real frigorific storage conditions: that is, at low measurement temperatures with variations of relative humidity.

Keywords: Gas sensors, Electronic nose, Spoilage process, Temperature modulation, Bream sparus-aurata, Electronic nose, Freshness, Quality, Sardines, Storage

Tarzan-Lorente, M., Gutierrez-Galvez, A., Martinez, D., Marco, S., (2010). A biologically inspired associative memory for artificial olfaction Practica 2010 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN 2010) , IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA (Barcelona, Spain) , 6 pp.

In this paper, we propose a biologically inspired architecture for a Hopfield-like associative memory applied to artificial olfaction. The proposed algorithm captures the projection between two neural layers of the insect olfactory system (Antennal Lobe and Mushroom Body) with a kernel based projection. We have tested its classification performance as a function of the size of the training set and the time elapsed since training and compared it with that obtained with a Support Vector Machine.

Keywords: Biocomputing, Chemioception, Content-addressable storage, Hopfield neural nets, Support vector machines

Fonollosa, J., Halford, B., Fonseca, L., Santander, J., Udina, S., Moreno, M., Hildenbrand, J., Wöllenstein, J., Marco, S., (2009). Ethylene optical spectrometer for apple ripening monitoring in controlled atmosphere store-houses Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 136, (2), 546-554

In today's store-houses the ripening of fruit is controlled by managing the ethylene concentration in the ambient atmosphere. Precise and continuous ethylene monitoring is very advantageous since low ethylene concentrations are produced by the fruit itself and are indicative of its ripeness, and on other occasions, ethylene is externally added when ripeness or degreening of the product must be promoted. In this work, a multichannel mid-infrared spectrometer for ethylene measurement is built and characterized. The instrument contains additional channels to reject potential cross-interferences like ammonia and ethanol. Additionally, these channels are useful for monitoring a potential malfunction of the cooling system and possible fouling of the fruit, respectively. The complete spectrometer contains a silicon-based macroporous infrared (IR) emitter, a miniaturized long path cell (white cell), a four-channel detector module, low-noise analog amplification and filtering, and a microcontroller-based lock-in amplifier. The new inner architecture of the detector module features a fourfold thermopile array with narrow band optical filters attached by flip-chip technology, and a Fresnel lens array attached on the lid of the package. Laboratory tests show that the system is able to distinguish between ammonia and ethylene, featuring a detection limit of 30 ppm and 160 ppm (95% confidence) for ethylene and ammonia, respectively. Field tests show that the spectrometer is suitable as an ethylene alarm to detect fruit ripening and prevent fruit to decline into senescence. Simulation results show that system selectivity could be improved by setting ammonia channel to another absorption wavelength.

Keywords: IR spectrometer, Ethylene, Fruit storage, Fresnel lens, White cell, Lock-in amplifier