There's no doubt that the word "virus" is currently on everyone's mind. However, there's a lot more to this dubious, microscopic "life form" than merely being a pandemic-causing bug.
This April, a team of MIT researchers reported that they used a strain of genetically reprogrammed viruses to perform a usual task - constructing a flexible, ultracompact lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery.
The viruses they used, called M13 bacteriophage, infect no other organisms except for bacteria. The scientists induced mutations in the viral genome to alter their preference to what type of surface to cling to. From there, they picked the one that has the most affinity to carbon nanotubes to build highly conductive cathodes for the battery. And thanks to its genetic nature, the bacteriophage can replicate themselves, by billions of copies, inside bacterial culture dishes. Therefore, the process can be developed into an environmentally friendly method for mass production.
The batteries with the virus-built cathode could undergo at least 100 charging cycles without losing capacity. With further tweaking, the team hopes that their invention, a super lightweight and flexible energy storage device, can have a similar life-span as conventional Li-ion batteries.
Source: Seeker via Youtube