|Conductive Composite Materials Fabricated from Microbially Produced Protein Nanowires.
|Year of Publication
|Sun Y-L, Tang H-Y, Ribbe A, Duzhko V, Woodard TL, Ward JE, Bai Y, Nevin KP, Nonnenmann SS, Russell T, Emrick T, Lovley DR
|Geobacter, Nanocomposites, Nanowires, Polymers
Protein-based electronic materials have numerous potential advantages with respect to sustainability and biocompatibility over electronic materials that are synthesized using harsh chemical processes and/or which contain toxic components. The microorganism Geobacter sulfurreducens synthesizes electrically conductive protein nanowires (e-PNs) with high aspect ratios (3 nm × 10-30 µm) from renewable organic feedstocks. Here, the integration of G. Sulfurreducens e-PNs into poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) as a host polymer matrix is described. The resultant e-PN/PVA composites exhibit conductivities comparable to PVA-based composites containing synthetic nanowires. The relationship between e-PN density and conductivity of the resultant composites is consistent with percolation theory. These e-PNs confer conductivity to the composites even under extreme conditions, with the highest conductivities achieved from materials prepared at pH 1.5 and temperatures greater than 100 °C. These results demonstrate that e-PNs represent viable and sustainable nanowire compositions for the fabrication of electrically conductive composite materials.