ADVERTISEMENT
2 /3 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Biological Chemistry

Using viruses to make nanowires

April 10, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 15

Viral carpet
[+]Enlarge
Credit: Courtesy of Ki Tae Nam and Pil Yoo
Cobalt oxide covered viruses arrange themselves on apolymer surface as seen in this atomic force microscope image, whosesides measure about 2,000 nm.
virus_battery.gif
Credit: Courtesy of Ki Tae Nam and Pil Yoo
Cobalt oxide covered viruses arrange themselves on apolymer surface as seen in this atomic force microscope image, whosesides measure about 2,000 nm.

To Angela M. Belcher of MIT, viruses and their DNA provide a versatile means for making nanoscale materials and gadgets. "What you have is these DNA sequences that code for the growth and assembly of a functional device," Belcher says. In her latest foray into "virus-enabled synthesis," Belcher and seven colleagues tweaked the genome of the rod-shaped virus M13 so that each of its roughly 2,700 major coat proteins would sport a string of four glutamate molecules. In water, the negative charges of these appendages proved irresistible to cobalt ions, which once in place on the viral surface could then be readily oxidized. The result: cobalt oxide wires the size and shape of M13 viruses (Science, published online April 6, dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1122716). One goal is to make electrodes for tiny batteries. That's why Belcher's group used another genetic technique to weave a 12-amino-acid motif that binds gold atoms into some of the coat proteins. The hybrid gold-cobalt oxide nanowires produced have energy capacities almost one-third higher than that of cobalt oxide-only nanowires.

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment