Cells can be reprogrammed to restore hearing.
Now, a research team from Minnesota University has discovered a way to assign conventional metals new characteristics.
Materials such as platinum or palladium are both rare and difficult to recycle.
Their chemical reactivity makes them especially coveted in the renewable sector, where they are deployed as catalysts in fuel cells or used in energy storage.
The team developed a device which, using a thin film of graphene, allows individual electrons to be added or removed from the surface of a simple metal like aluminium.
This tunes it to take on the properties of precious metals. Renewable energy can already be stored in the form of ammonia.
Apropos rare, sugar can be helpful too.