Researchers at MIT have created the world’s first batteries constructed from microscopic viruses.
Viruses are genetically engineered to attract specific anode and cathode materials, molecules like cobalt oxide from a solution, which form wires packed together to create electrodes smaller than a human cell.
Batteries consist of two opposing electrodes, anode and cathode, separated by an electrolyte.
“Once you do the genetic engineering with the viruses themselves, you pour in the solution and they grow the right combination of these materials on them,” says professor Angela Belcher.
The team is working on practical applications for this new invention idea, which include fiber configurations, smaller than a human cell, spun like silk and integrated into textiles providing a wearable power source. Nano-films could also be printed or laminated to electronic devices for the same purpose.
The research is being funded by the Army Research Office Institute of Collaborative Biotechnologies, the Army Research Office Institute of Soldier Nanotechnologies, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.