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2014 MRS Fall Meeting


X3.01 - Giving New Life to Materials for Energy, the Environment and Medicine


Dec 3, 2014 12:05pm ‐ Dec 3, 2014 1:15pm

Description

Organisms have been making exquisite inorganic materials for over 500 million years. These materials have many desired physical properties such as strength and regularity, which permit the organism to thrive in specific biological and physical environments. My lab seeks to expand the types of materials that living systems can utilize to make advanced technologies that are smarter and better adapted, using environmentally suitable techniques. One approach to designing future technologies that integrates the properties that living organisms use so well, is to select or evolve organisms to work with a more diverse set of building blocks. New nanostructured materials can be grown and assembled for energy storage, solar, carbon capture and re-use, catalysis, oil recovery and medical imaging by using genetic control and biologically inspired synthesis. In the field of energy storage, we demonstrate that biological engineering can enhance electrode design to improve specific capacity and cycling performance of both lithium-oxygen and lithium-ion batteries using M13 viruses to grow and assemble high-efficiency nanocatalysts from earth-abundant elements. In addition, rationally designing virus-based nanocomposites with high electron mobility can produce hybrid devices that can efficiently collect photo-generated electrons and greatly improves the performance of photovoltaic devices. M13 viruses can be further engineered as a scaffold to increase light collection, exciton transport and enable light driven reactions. Other applications include engineering yeast to convert carbon dioxide into building materials and the development of targeted probes in the second window near IR for detection and real-time surgical guidance of submillimeter ovarian tumors will be explored.

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