MIT engineers have created a new material that was inspired by natural materials that feature the advantages of live cells and their ability to respond to their environment. This new material was demonstrated using bacterial cells that were coaxed to produce biofilms that can combine with nonliving materials.
The team programmed the cells to produce different varieties of curli fibers and was able to control the biofilms’ properties to create gold nanowires, conducting biofilms and films sprinkled with quantum dots. They also developed the cells to communicate with each other and the ability to change the biofilm composition over time.
Read more about how this hybrid material could be used in energy applications such as solar cells, self-healing materials or diagnostic sensors.