March 11, 2008
An MIT materials scientist's research on abalone sea snails has helped transform battery technology and may end the era when cell phones die if they're dropped and PDAs must be replaced if they get dunked in the tub. [via MIT News Office]
"Thanks to those sea snails and a eureka moment, Angela Belcher, Germeshausen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering, is developing smart nano-materials--hybrids of organic and inorganic components--beginning with a rechargeable, biologically based battery that looks like plastic food wrap.
... With MIT colleagues Paula Hammond, Bayer Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Yet-Ming Chiang, professor of materials science and engineering, Belcher grew the first biologically based, nano-scale rechargeable battery--the one that may end short-lived cell phones.
Belcher's MIT battery is comprised of a virus she and her colleagues engineered to latch itself to cobalt oxide. It does look like a clear film. Transparent, efficient, it could one day be poured onto the object it's powering, like a coat of energizing paint. "
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