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MIT Completes Virus-Built Battery

4 April 2009 No Comment

Engineers of Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered the concept of a virus-built battery.

virus-batt-1-enlargedAngela Belcher and her team have developed a virus known as M13 bacteriophage, which is attracted to inorganic materials. Each virus coats itself with gold and cobalt oxide and turns itself into a fragment of nanowire. When these viruses are then chained together, they form a film that can be used as a negatively-charged anode.

Ions from the negatively-charged anode flow to the positively-charged cathode to “charge” a battery, and flow in the opposite direction to “discharge” that electricity through laptops, mobile phones, and other such devices.

To create the cathode, the team engineered viruses that would attract iron phosphate and carbon nanotubes which created a highly conductive material that had practically no weight.

With both elements in place the team could create a micro-battery capable of around 100 charges. The prototype took this model and inflated it to the size of a button cell battery which powers a simple LED.

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