TEL AVIV, Israel, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Israeli scientists say they've created a nanomaterial that may revolutionize solar panels, batteries and even be used as the basis for self-cleaning windows.
Tel Aviv University Professor Ehud Gazit, graduate student Lihi Adler-Abramovich and colleagues said they have developed a method to control the atoms and molecules of peptides so that they "grow" to resemble small forests of grass. The "peptide forests" repel dust and water.
"This is beautiful and protean research," Adler-Abramovich said. "It began as an attempt to find a new cure for Alzheimer's disease. To our surprise, it also had implications for electric cars, solar energy and construction."
Using a variety of peptides, which are inexpensive to produce, the researchers said they created "self-assembled nanotubules" in a vacuum under high temperatures. The nanotubules can withstand extreme heat and are resistant to water.
"We are not manufacturing the actual material, but developing a basic-science technology that could lead to self-cleaning windows and more efficient energy storage devices in just a few years," Adler-Abramovich said.
Lab officials said they have been approached to develop the coating technology commercially. Gazit said he has a contract with pharmaceutical company Merck to research short peptides for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
The research is reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
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