|Intrinsically Conductive Microbial Nanowires for 'Green' Electronics with Novel Functions.
|Year of Publication
|Lovley DR, Yao J
|Electric Conductivity, Electronics, Nanowires, Proteins
Intrinsically conductive protein nanowires, microbially produced from inexpensive, renewable feedstocks, are a sustainable alternative to traditional nanowire electronic materials, which require high energy inputs and hazardous conditions/chemicals for fabrication and can be highly toxic. Pilin-based nanowires can be tailored for specific functions via the design of synthetic pilin genes to tune wire conductivity or introduce novel functionalities. Other microbially produced nanowire options for electronics may include cytochrome wires, curli fibers, and the conductive fibers of cable bacteria. Proof-of-concept protein nanowire electronics that have been successfully demonstrated include biomedical sensors, neuromorphic devices, and a device that generates electricity from ambient humidity. Further development of applications will require interdisciplinary teams of engineers, biophysicists, and synthetic biologists.