Researchers at MIT have genetically modified a virus that helps carbon nanotubes self-assemble along solar cells to improve efficiency of electron collection. The virus, called M13, helps to separate the two types of nanotubes – those that enhance solar cell performance and those that inhibit it.
According to Engadget, “Adding virus-built structures to dye-sensitized solar cells increased power conversion efficiency by almost one-third and, with only one additional step in the manufacturing process required, the new approach could be rapidly taken up by existing production facilities. MIT: proving once again that viruses are good for more than just smiting your enemies.”
They may help to save the world and improve our way of life, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are exceptionally creepy looking. #justsayin.