For the past few decades, we have been sincerely following Moore’s Law to the letter when it comes to the development of electronics.
Thanks to our dedication, our devices have started to become more compact and powerful than ever imagined, with the work now being done at a nanoscale.
But if we go beyond the shimmer of powerful computer chips and the graphics cards, we would realize that there are certain elements that are common in all electronics yet haven’t seen a large amount of innovation.
We are talking about the wiring. Something that has been part of electronic systems ever since their inception, yet despite a huge reduction in size, still aren’t as advanced as they could be.
Not to mention that getting the wiring working efficiently at such a small scale requires a lot of tinkering around with expensive and toxic chemicals which aren’t the most ideal solution around.
To help create a more sustainable, yet smart wiring, researchers at the University of Massachusetts, in collaboration with the Office Of Naval Research have found a way to genetically modify common soil bacteria to produce special nanowires that are capable of conducting electricity.
The inspiration for this experiment came from a bacteria called Geobacters, who possess nanoscale protein filaments, that are responsible for making connections with the iron oxide in the soil around them.
This is what helps them find their power source, and it is what gave the researchers the idea of creating Bacteria Based Nanowires for electronics.
To make the concept possible, the researchers altered the genetic makeup of the bacteria by simply replacing two amino acids with tryptophan.
Tryptophan is a chemical that’s remarkably good at transporting electrons at the nanoscale, so it become the perfect choice for creating these wires.
In follow up studies conducted on these modified bacteria, it was found that with the new additions, the bacteria become over 2,000 times as conductive as they were in their natural state.
The success of this experiment has opened several avenues in the creation of electronics, with applications in several fields that could make use of sustainable nanowires.