When 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM Feb 13, 2009
Where 1670 CSE
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Novel Approaches to Bioinspired Energy Research


Ki Tae Nam, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Bio-systems have inherently developed very specific molecular recognition patterns that can be manipulated through genetic control. It also can be used to exert molecular scale control over nucleation, growth, and stabilization of inorganic materials, analogous to the process of biomineralization. Furthermore, due to the remarkable capability of biological molecules to self-assemble at multiple length scales, the opportunity exists for designing novel nanomaterials via genetic modification and then constructing hierarchically assembled structures. The combination of biological self-assembly and biosynthesis of nanomaterials can enable us to create entirely new concepts, applications, and devices.

In my presentation, I will describe how the biological approach not only contribute to improving the properties of current energy devices but also provide a new paradigm for designing highly efficient, small scale energy devices. We choose the M13 virus as a genetic based toolkit to realize our idea- "from DNA to the functional device". M13 virus was genetically engineered to grow and assemble the electrochemically active materials for Li ion battery electrode. We applied our understanding of the interaction between the specific protein and metal in order to grow nanomaterials on the major coat proteins of the virus. Additionally, the principles of biological self-assembly and biotemplating was further extended to control virus-virus interactions for organizing nanostructured electrodes in two dimension. By harnessing the electrostatic nature of the assembly process with the functional properties of the virus, we can create highly ordered composite thin films combining the function of the virus and polyelectrolyte multilayer systems.

In the latter part of my presentation, I will also talk about how the understanding obtained through M13 viruses can be extended to other biological systems and non-natural biomimic systems such as peptoids. Peptoids are a novel class of non-natural polymer based on oligo-N-substituted glycine, designed to mimic peptides and proteins. Their side chains are appended to the amide nitrogen rather than the alpha carbon as in a peptide.