Newly discovered nanowires leaves manmade technology in their dust

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Gemma Reguera (view larger image)

A microbial protein fiber discovered by a Michigan State University (MSU) AgBioResearch scientist transports charges at rates high enough to be applied in manmade nanotechnologies.

The discovery, featured in the current issue of Scientific Reports, describes the high-speed protein fiber produced by uranium-reducing Geobacter bacteria. The fibers are hair-like protein filaments called “pili” that have the unique property of transporting charges at speeds of 1 billion electrons per second.

“This microbial nanowire is made of but a single peptide subunit,” said Gemma Reguera, lead author and MSU microbiologist. “Being made of protein, these organic nanowires are biodegradable and biocompatible. This discovery thus opens many applications in nanoelectronics such as the development of medical sensors and electronic devices that can be interfaced with human tissues.”

For the full story, please visit MSU Today.

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