Apr
17
2006

How was that battery made?


Watch Battery: Courtesy BatteryWeb

Researchers are turning to nature to develop miniature batteries. In a recent issue of Science, it was reported that an international team of researchers, led by a group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has used a virus to build miniature batteries.

How does a virus build a battery?

The batteries are being built from nanowires constructed from the M13 virus. Researchers modified the M13 virus’ genetic code so its outer coat would bond to certain metals. They incubated the modified virus in a cobalt chloride solution to allow cobalt oxide crystals to form uniformly along its length then sprinkled it with gold to produce electrical effects. Thus, the final nanowires worked as positive battery electrodes.

So why use a virus?
A virus is capable of forming tons of genetically similar copies of itself when grown under appropriate conditions. In the case of the M13 virus, it was harvested (or grown) in a bacteria. The M13 virus, in the bacteria environment, multiplied recreating tons of genetically similar copies of itself. Researchers reported that viruses form orderly layers yielding nanowires.

Future goals…
The researchers reported they have already used viruses to construct semiconductors and magnetic nanowires. Next on the agenda, they are hoping to use viruses to construct batteries ranging from the size of a grain of rice up to the size of a hearing aid battery. That’s pretty tiny!

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Liza's picture
Liza says:

Here's a nice article about the batteries built with viruses.

posted on Wed, 04/19/2006 - 11:07am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

And another one, which has a link to an illustration of the battery-making process.

posted on Wed, 04/19/2006 - 11:08am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I really like being able to add my ideas to this site. thank you.

posted on Wed, 04/19/2006 - 12:06pm
Mr. Slinky's picture
Mr. Slinky says:

Man this site has given me some cool ideas... and helped me with some home work lol.

posted on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 1:11pm

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