University of California, Riverside

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Virus-based Piezoelectric Energy Generation” Presented by Dr. Seung-Wuk Lee

Virus-based Piezoelectric Energy Generation” Presented by Dr. Seung-Wuk Lee

Virus-based Piezoelectric Energy Generation” Presented by Dr. Seung-Wuk Lee

March 31, 2014 - 11:00 am
Winston Chung Hall, 205/206


Piezoelectric materials can convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, and piezoelectric devices made of various inorganic materials and organic polymers have been demonstrated. However, synthesizing such materials often requires toxic materials, harsh conditions and/or complex procedures. Recently, it was shown that hierarchically organized natural materials, such as bones, collagen fibrils and peptide nanotubes, can display piezoelectric properties. In my presentation, I will show our innovative approach to produce virus-based piezoelectric energy generation. Recently, we establish that the piezoelectric and liquid crystalline properties of M13 bacteriophage (phage) can be used to generate electrical energy. Using piezoresponse force microscopy, we characterize the structure-dependent piezoelectric properties of phage at the molecular level. We then show that self-assembled thin films of phage can exhibit piezoelectric strengths of up to 7.8 pm/V. We also demonstrate that it is possible to modulate the dipole strength of phage, and hence tune their piezoelectric response by genetically engineering the phage’s major coat proteins.  Finally, we develop a phage-based piezoelectric generator that produces up to 6 nA of current and 400 mV of potential, and use it to operate a liquid crystal display. Because biotechnology techniques enable large-scale production of genetically modified phages, phage-based piezoelectric materials potentially offer a simple and environment-friendly approach to piezoelectricity generation.


Lee, B.-Y., Zheng, J., Zueger, C., Chung, W.-J., Yoo, S.-Y., Wang, E., Meyer, J., Ramesh, R., Lee, SW., Virus-based Piezoelectric Energy Generation. Nature Nanotechnology. 7, 351–356 (2012).

Chung WJ, Oh JW, Kwak KW, Lee BY, Meyer J, Wang E, Hexemer A, & Lee, SW. Biomimetic self-templating supramolecular structures. Nature. 478, 364-368, (2011).


Professor Lee earned his B.S and M.S. from Korea University (Seoul) and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, he accepted a faculty position at UC Berkeley in 2006, rising to Associate Professor in 2011.  He is also Associate Director of the Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems at UCB and Scientist, LBNL Physical Bioscience Division. The Lee group uses chemical and biological approaches to create precisely defined nanomaterials, to investigate complex phenomena at their interfaces, and to develop novel, biomimetic, functional materials. Among other awards, Professor Lee is a UCB Presidential Chair Fellow and an NSF CAREER awardee.







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Electrical and Computer Engineering
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University of California, Riverside
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