We all know viruses for a bad cause, but now researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have something interesting to say about these viruses.
They have developed a method in which non-human viruses can be used to create electricity through kinetic energy. By using this energy, we can power our gadgets.
The scientists first made the piezoelectric device by coating a small electrode with engineered viruses. By tapping with finger, this device created an electrical charge which was about one quarter the voltage of a triple A battery.
The M13 bacteriophage they had chosen was piezoelectric. It was engineered to increase the voltage. This virus is easily replicated and engineered and many self-organize into well-ordered thin films.
The research team stacked 20 layers of these films which were similar to the size of a postage stamp. This stack was placed in between two gold-plated electrodes.
When you apply the pressure, the device can power a small LCD display. The virus used in is a genetically-modified one and so is human friendly.
According to Seung-Wuk Lee, a member of the research team, the team is now working to improve this proof-of-principle demonstration. At present, the tools of biotechnology enable large-scale production of genetically modified viruses.
Therefore, this kind of piezoelectric materials which are based on viruses could offer a simple method to novel microelectronics in the future.
If they succeed in their mission, we can simply power our gadgets while doing jogging or climbing stairs, opening and closing doors.
(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)