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virus-assembled battery

A virus-assembled battery is a self-contained, high-density electrical energy source created by a process in which biological viruses assemble inorganic molecules into predetermined structures. The process, conceived and developed by engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), involves the manipulation of the genes in a common laboratory virus. This gives rise to organisms that can produce arrangements of molecules capable of functioning as electronic components, particularly sources of direct current ( DC ).

Virus-assembled battery technology is in the early research-and-development phase. Working devices at the consumer level have not been produced although the future of the technology looks promising according to its engineers.

Advantages of the use of biological viruses to "grow" battery materials may include:

  • Precise placement of component molecules.
  • Rapid production of usable material.
  • Evolution of new and inexpensive manufacturing methods.
  • Production of structures that can store more energy than conventional batteries.

Potential applications of virus-assembly technology include:

  • Power supplies for nanoscale systems.
  • Tiny, high-energy batteries laminated to liquid-crystal displays ( LCD s) and microelectronic devices.
  • Inexpensive, efficient photovoltaic cell s.
  • New processes for manufacturing transistor s, integrated circuit s and other semiconductor devices.
This was last updated in July 2006

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