Dr. Angela Belcher, from MIT with her team has produced ... an incredible lithium battery based on M13 virus.
Click to visit Dr. Angela Belcher web page at MIT.
What about to have a battery for your cellular phone or your new electric car, based on elementals, that are the base of Life?
It isn't interesting? ...
May be these elementals, these so called "virus" may got a special holiday in some exclusive place as well enjoy a discount for the Tesla Motor car ... 100% electric ... if the actual result will someday be extended to car batteries.
Following this result I am re-established "Biology" like a discipline as well adding the sub-discipline, "Biology Nanotechnology", with my excuses for Biologists and elementals, as well.
Click to download the full color article,
Batteries grown from 'armour-plated' viruses
GENETICALLY engineered viruses that assemble into electrodes have been used to make complete miniature rechargeable batteries for the first time. The new lithium ion batteries are as powerful as existing devices but smaller and cleaner to make, claim the team behind the work. The technology could improve the performance of hybrid electric cars and electronic gadgets.
Lithium ion batteries exploit the reactivity of lithium to produce a current. Inside the battery, lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode, forcing electrons in the opposite direction around an external circuit. This process is reversed when the battery is recharged.
Making these batteries takes a tough manufacturing process because of the highly reactive components, aggressive solvents and high temperatures used in construction, as well as the dangers of handling lithium.
Viruses could make this process much safer and cleaner, says Angela Belcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Her team converted a harmless virus called M13 into a cathode by inserting a gene that causes the virus to produce proteins that bond with iron and phosphate ions in a surrounding solution. As a result, the long, tubular virus particles become sheathed in an "armour plating" of iron phosphate, turning them into nanowires.
The resultant batteries were not as good as commercial models, however-the cathodes turned out to be good at conducting lithium ions but not electrons.
To solve this, the team inserted a second gene that creates a protein at the tip of the virus that bonds to a carbon nanotube. The nanotube increase the electron conductivity of the combined structure (see diagram). " We were basically adding a highway that allows the electrons to move in and out rapidly," says Belcher.
The resulting battery turned out to be as good as the best commercially available that use crystalline lithium iron phosphate materials (Science, DOI: l0.ll26/science.U7l54l). And since the team had previously used the same viral technique to produce anodes (New Scientist online, 6 April 2006), it has now been able to make a full virus-based 3-volt lithium ion battery.
Compared to conventional lithium ion batteries, the biologically grown battery is environmentally friendly because much of the materials can now be made at room temperature or on ice and without harsh solvents. “It’s a pretty simple process that doesn't require fancy equipment," says Belcher.
It has potentia1 to be even better, though. This production system could boost battery performance because it uses nanostructured materials that can store and release more power than conventional materials, and also do it faster. Already Belcher's prototype battery is as powerful as existing technologies, an ability she has shown off by using one to power an LED. Her team is now investigating materials that work at higher voltages and with higher energy-storage capacities.
Joachim Maier, at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, Germany, reckons using biology is a useful approach. "Not too many people look into biology in this context, so from that point of view it is very interesting," he says.
Giovanni A. Orlando. (Someone need to study more biology!)