A transistor plant? Are we at the dawn of the next industrial revolution? In any case, Swedish researchers have achieved a technological feat of using wood, a renewable and natural material, to generate electricity continuously. The dawn of biodegradable electronics?
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The first wooden transistor capable of regulating the flow of electricity has been developed in a laboratory in Sweden. More ecological than conventional transistors, this paves the way for other developments before claiming any practical application. Researchers from Linköping University associated with the Royal Polytechnic School of Stockholm (KTH) have succeeded in creating the world’s first wooden transistor.
Remember that a transistor is a simple electronic component made of silicon that is used to control or amplify voltages and currents. They are found in all electronic devices, and sometimes in microscopic scales. The function here is to make the wood conduct electricity.
Slow, complex but effective
To achieve this technical feat, the researchers used balsa wood, whose structure is completely uniform. They extracted the lignin, thus favoring the presence of cellulose. They then filled the hollow channels with a conductive plastic (PEDOT:PSS) so that the wood block itself would pass the current.
In the end, this first wooden transistor was relatively slow and, above all, very bulky. But the main thing is that it works, it regulates the flow of electricity without deterioration. This will form the basis for even more exciting developments in the future.
However, this type of wooden transistors has no advantages. Compared to silicon, wood is actually a sustainable and renewable material, which means this solution is more environmentally friendly. Then, wood with low electrical conductivity, it consumes less energy. The work is published in the journal Science PNAS.