ACS Philadelphia 2008: Viruses make batteries

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I wrote a story yesterday about a clever way to make tiny batteries using a rubber stamp and a virus. It was actually from a paper that came out in PNAS, but one of the authors, Paula Hammond is here at the meeting. She is working with Angela Belcher on some very cool viruses.

The paper outlines a simple way to build up a polyelectrolyte system, and coat a virus onto it, then let cobalt oxide nanoparticles grow on that. Stamp all this cobalt-side down on to a platinum strip, add a thin piece of lithium to the other side and hey-presto! A teeny tiny battery.

In my discussions with others about the work, it seems that people have been playing around with viruses for a while now, but we should start to see a lot more practical applications coming out of this tinkering in the next few years.