Vertical Self-Assembly of Polarized Phage Nanostructure for Energy Harvesting

Ju Hyuck Lee, Ju Hun Lee, Jun Xiao, Malav S. Desai, Xiang Zhang, Seung Wuk Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Controlling the shape, geometry, density, and orientation of nanomaterials is critical to fabricate functional devices. However, there is limited control over the morphological and directional characteristics of presynthesized nanomaterials, which makes them unsuitable for developing devices for practical applications. Here, we address this challenge by demonstrating vertically aligned and polarized piezoelectric nanostructures from presynthesized biological piezoelectric nanofibers, M13 phage, with control over the orientation, polarization direction, microstructure morphology, and density using genetic engineering and template-assisted self-assembly process. The resulting vertically ordered structures exhibit strong unidirectional polarization with three times higher piezoelectric constant values than that of in-plane aligned structures, supported by second harmonic generation and piezoelectric force microscopy measurements. The resulting vertically self-assembled phage-based piezoelectric energy harvester (PEH) produces up to 2.8 V of potential, 120 nA of current, and 236 nW of power upon 17 N of force. In addition, five phage-based PEH integrated devices produce an output voltage of 12 V and an output current of 300 nA, simply by pressing with a finger. The resulting device can operate light-emitting diode backlights on a liquid crystal display. Our approach will be useful for assembling many other presynthesized nanomaterials into high-performance devices for various applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2661-2667
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 10 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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