Using Viruses to Construct Electrodes and More

Posted on November 24, 2006  Comments (0)

She harnesses viruses to make things

Manufacturing was once the province of human hands, then of machines. Angela Belcher, professor of materials science and engineering and biological engineering at MIT, has pushed manufacturing in another, much smaller, direction: Her lab has genetically engineered viruses that can construct useful objects like electrodes and wires.

Her lab employed this method to form an electrode that can be used in a lithium ion battery like the rechargeable ones used in electronics. The result looks like an innocuous length of celluloid tape, the sort you could use to wrap a package.

“It’s self-assembled,” says Belcher. “The viruses make these materials at room temperature.” So there’s little pollution.

Belcher hopes to be making prototypes within the next two years. “Actual devices are five to 10 years off.”

Related: Webcasts including: Viruses as nanomachinesVirus-Assembled BatteriesWhat Are Viruses?Bacteria Sprout Conducting NanowiresBiological Molecular Motors

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