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MIT researchers use virus to build tiny batteries


A small team at MIT has been spending the last few years trying to coax an organism to self-assemble into super thin lithium-ion battery out of tiny "nanowire" structures. The process involves a gene-manipulated version of a common virus which collects cobalt oxide and gold, and then assembles itself as an ultrathin wire on top of thin film. The wires are 6 nanometers in diameter, 880 nanometers in length, and a full fledged battery can be the size of a grain of rice. Once the genes are modified, the researchers say they can easily replicate millions of the wires. While this might sound like a good fit for a B-movie plot, it also sounds like they've managed to develop a rather large jump in battery tech. It looks like the first application for this tech will be for mini batteries like those of hearing aids, but there are hopes this tech can eventually make its way into laptops and perhaps even power electric cars in the future, thanks to its high density and potential for world ending catastrophe.

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