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Nano Lett. 2010 Jul 14;10(7):2433-40. doi: 10.1021/nl1005993.

Biologically activated noble metal alloys at the nanoscale: for lithium ion battery anodes.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


We report the synthesis and electrochemical activity of gold and silver noble metals and their alloy nanowires using multiple virus clones as anode materials for lithium ion batteries. Using two clones, one for specificity (p8#9 virus) and one versatility (E4 virus), noble metal nanowires of high-aspect ratio with diameters below 50 nm were successfully synthesized with control over particle sizes, morphologies, and compositions. The biologically derived noble metal alloy nanowires showed electrochemical activities toward lithium even when the electrodes were prepared from bulk powder forms. The improvement in capacity retention was accomplished by alloy formation and surface stabilization. Although the cost of noble metals renders them a less ideal choice for lithium ion batteries, these noble metal/alloy nanowires serve as great model systems to study electrochemically induced transformation at the nanoscale. Given the demonstration of the electrochemical activity of noble metal alloy nanowires with various compositions, the M13 biological toolkit extended its utility for the study on the basic electrochemical property of materials.

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