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Virus helps to build tiny battery

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posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 07:19 AM
It's finally happening.

Apparently we will be able to give virus some use. I'm not talking about warfare but something that might start an energetic revolution...

It has just been published on the Nature science magazine, scientists were able to "squeeze" energy out of some viruses.

I will not get into details because you ought to look at it with your own eyes.

From Nature website@

Simple technique could create power packs for microdevices
A virus has helped to create a new type of tiny battery, made with a simple stamping technique, that could power miniature devices.

Electronic devices used for controlled drug delivery, or to power tiny lab-on-a-chip applications, need to get their power from somewhere. But as conventional batteries are made smaller and smaller, they contain less and less of the materials that actually store charge, causing a decline in efficiency.

Thousands of the virus-based electrodes created a power-pack array about 1 centimetre across.

Using nanoscale components can boost a battery's capacity to store charge. Now, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, have designed a quick method to build a microbattery that relies on a genetically-engineered virus called M13.

The scientists first made a template from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a commonly used silicon-based organic polymer. After coating it with alternating layers of positive and negative electrolytes, they added the virus.

The virus had been designed to have negatively charged amino acids at its surface, so that it stuck to the template, and an affinity for cobalt — a favoured material for batteries. Each virus is a semi-rigid fibre a few nanometres in diameter and about a micrometre long, which tends to pack tightly into a whorl that looks similar to a fingerprint.

Scanning electron microscope image of the microbattery electrodes. Each whorl is about 4 micrometres across.

The whole assembly was dipped into a solution of cobalt ions, which coated the viruses to create a very large surface area that could store charge. Stamping the template onto a platinum layer and peeling off the PDMS left behind an array of small dots of the prepared material, cobalt-side down, which formed the heart of an effective battery. The work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1.

"This is the first time anyone has ever stamped a battery device," says Paula Hammond, part of the MIT team.

It's also an elegant demonstration of the potential use of viruses for making nanodevices, says Jan van Hest from the Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences, the Netherlands. But he wonders if the addition of viruses could actually be overengineering the system. "Using viruses as a template introduces an extra non-active layer, which lowers the percentage of active material," van Hest says. He suggests that cobalt oxide nanoparticles could work just as efficiently.

But the process is certainly an improvement on current technologies, says Hammond, "We're talking about a simple, inexpensive and environmentally better way of generating a microbattery," she says. She hopes to extend the design so that the second electrode necessary for a complete battery can also be stamped using the same process.

Do you think we'll soon see some "infected" electrical cars out there?

[edit on 02/11/2008 by novrod]

posted on Aug, 20 2008 @ 10:41 AM
This may be the start of true Bio-Mechanics...using living (semi) things to create energy. Although far off, this may be the origin of a true cyborg! (I know going from a virus battery to a cyborg is a large step but think about it!)

posted on Aug, 21 2008 @ 12:47 PM
The lack of comments to this thread show how people don't mind about these opportunities. It's not that we can't replace oil, people just don't bother.

Unfortunately I rather foresee intelligent nano weapons with this technolgy. But it's nice to dream .

[edit on 02/11/2008 by novrod]

posted on Aug, 23 2008 @ 12:28 AM
I find this amazing, and the lack of interest is baffeling to say the least. Do people just not understand the article?

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