Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology made a giant leap in battery research. They patented a microscopic virus construction (virus M13) to create a mini battery with extra long life. Through certain gene manipulation, the scientist team (consists of Angela Belcher, Paula Hammond, and Yet Ming Chiang) manages to trick the single cell organism to grow and divide itself producing electric energy in the process.
In the research, the MIT team change the genetic information on the protein layer of the virus to make it collects gold and cobalt oxide molecules. These virus will hold negative current and they will be slipped into polymer with positive current to form thin elastic layer. This thin layer is like a film layer rich in virus and acts like anode as the report in the latest edition of Journal Science.
Cobalt is used as the metal oxyde because it has capability to store energy well. The energy density of cobalt can be two to three times higher than conventional battery with identical weight and dimension at the market right now. “The addition of gold will make the energy density higher,” said Belcher, the team leader.