In order to emulate how nature grows materials, Angela Belcher and associates have studied how certain viruses self assemble. In some of their projects they have engineered viruses to recognize material components of batteries and self assemble these components at room temperature into viable batteries. Others are self assembling materials with conductive or photoreactive properties. By exploring the self assembling toolkit of phage viruses the researchers have developed novel ways of manufacturing nano-scale batteries.
This technology focuses on how can we 'grow' materials, and in this case batteries so that we can achieve high power, flexible, reliable batteries without a high cost of manufacture. Bottom up manufacturing is transformative in terms of efficiency, specificity, and performance.
Natural materials are grown not shaped, they are created out of the elements at hand, and rely on self-organizing systems to create the material itself. This concept of growing our materials allows us to create high performance materials at room temperature, using limited quantity of products and energy. Viruses are very rapidly assembled, yet have complex and consistent form, so are an excellent template from which to engineer a nano-scale battery.
Low cost, low energy production process. Can readily create batteries in any shape or size.Edit Summary