Posts tagged titanium dioxide
Organic circuits have been in development for awhile, but it’s still rare that the organics are producing the circuitry themselves. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara plan to break that silence with genetically engineered proteins that can make silicon dioxide or titanium dioxide structures like those used in the computer chips and solar cells that we hold dear. The trick, the university’s Daniel Morse found, is to attach silica-forming DNA to plastic beads that are in turn soaked in the silicon or titanium molecules they’re looking for: after some not-so-natural selection for the best genes, the thriving proteins can produce not only substantial minerals, but whole fiber sheets. Much work is left to get the proteins producing the kind of silicon or titanium dioxides that could run a computer or power your house, but the dream is to have synthetic creations that organically produce what would normally need a mining expedition — imagine something akin to the glass-like Venus’ Flower Basket sponge (pictured above) sitting in an Intel factory. We’re half-expecting organically-grown smartphones at Whole Foods, right next to the kale chips and fair trade coffee.
[Image credit: Ryan Somma, Flickr]
UCSB engineers proteins that make silicon, leads hipsters to insist on organically-grown computers originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 08 Jun 2012 08:18:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Some day, your restroom break may be enough time to charge your [insert nifty gadget here] halfway. A group of researchers at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has discovered that nanotubes composed of titanium dioxide can switch their phase as a battery is cycled, gradually boosting their operational capacity. The upshot: laboratory tests showed that new batteries produced with this material could be rejuvenated to 50 percent of their maximum charge in less than 30 seconds. This was accomplished by replacing conventional graphite anodes with titanium nanotube andodes. Following the experiment, lead researcher Tijana Rajh and her colleagues noted that as the battery cycled through several charges and discharges, its internal structure began to orient itself in a way that dramatically improved the battery’s performance. Furthermore, using anodes composed of titanium dioxide instead of graphite could improve the reliability and safety of lithium-ion batteries and help avoid scenarios in which the lithium can deposit on the graphite anodes, causing a dangerous chain reaction known as “thermal runaway.” Copious amounts of related technobabble can be found in the links below, and there’s a video just past the break, too.
New nanotube battery technology leads to blisteringly fast recharges, improved safety features originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 07 Nov 2011 14:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.