The research team believes this is the first time nanotubes have been shown to be produced by biological rather than chemical means. It opens the door to the possibility of cheaper and more environmentally friendly manufacture of electronic materials
Genus Shewanella. The nanotube filaments produced by biological means could point toward semiconductor manufacturing processes with a smaller energy and environmental footprint. Image credit: Hor-Gil Hur, GIST
The photoactive arsenic-sulfide nanotubes produced by the bacteria behave as metals with electrical and photoconductive properties. The researchers report that these properties may also provide novel functionality for the next generation of semiconductors in nano- and opto-electronic devices.