transistor factory Are we at the dawn of the next industrial revolution? In any case, the Swedish researchers have achieved a technical achievement of using wood, which is a renewable and natural material, to regulate the flow of electricity without degradation. The beginnings of biodegradable electronics?
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The first wooden transistor capable of regulating electrical flow was developed in a laboratory in Sweden. More environmental than conventional transistors, they pave the way for other developments before they can claim any practical use. Researchers from Linköping University, associated with the Stockholm Royal School of Applied Arts (KTH), have succeeded in developing the world’s first wooden transistor.
Remember that a transistor is an ordinary electronic component, made of silicon, used to control or amplify voltages and electric currents. They are found in all electronic devices, sometimes on microscopic scales. So the performance here was to make the wood conduct electricity.
Slow and cumbersome, but effective
To achieve this technological achievement, the researchers used balsa wood, a material with a completely homogeneous structure. They extracted lignin, and thus preferred the presence of cellulose. Then they filled the empty channels with a conductive plastic (PEDOT:PSS) so that the wood block itself could pass current.
After all, this first wooden transistor is relatively slow and above all very bulky. But the main thing is that it works, that it is able to regulate the flow of electricity without degradation. Thus it can serve as a basis for more exciting developments in the future.
In any case, this type of wooden transistor does not lack advantages. Compared to silicone, wood is already a sustainable and renewable material, which means this solution is more environmentally friendly. Then, wood has a lower electrical conductivity, meaning it consumes less energy. This work has been published in the scientific journal PNAS.