A three-electrode system was used to study the effect of anode surface roughness on the performance of microbial fuel cells (MFCs). Two glassy carbon plates were polished to uniform roughness of the orders of magnitude of 10s of nm and 100s of nm. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to quantify the roughness as well as the 3D topography of the surfaces. Multiple electrochemical methods including potentiostatic tests, potentiodynamic tests, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) were utilized to monitor the performance of the glassy carbon electrodes. After 275 hours of experimentation, the current density generated by the rough electrode was much higher than that generated by the smooth one. Furthermore, the charge-transfer resistance of the rough electrode was lower than that of the smooth one. The better electrochemical performance of the rough surface may be due to denser biofilm grown on the surface, which was observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

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