Using semi-conductive polymers, both analog and digital electronic circuits can be created inside living flowers, bushes and trees, as researchers at Linköping University Laboratory for Organic Electronics have shown. The results are being published in Science Advances.
With the help of the channels that distribute water and nutrients in plants, the research group at the Laboratory for Organic Electronics, under the leadership of Professor Magnus Berggren, have built the key components of electronic circuits. In an article in Science Advances, they show how roses can produce both analog and digital electronic circuits, which over the long term could be used, for example, to regulate the plant’s physiology.
Traditional electronics send and process electronic signals, while plants transport and handle ions and growth hormones. In organic electronics, based on semi-conductive polymers, both ions and electrons can serve as signal carriers. With the help of organic electronics it therefore becomes possible to combine electric signals with the plant’s own, as if translating the plant’s signals into traditional electronics. With inexpensive organic electronics integrated into plants, a long range of possibilities opens up – such as utilizing energy from photosynthesis in a fuel cell, or reading and regulating the growth and other inner functions of plants.
“Previously, we had no good tools for measuring the concentration of various molecules in living plants. Now we’ll be able to influence the concentration of the various substances in the plant that regulate growth and development. Here, I see great possibilities for learning more,” says Ove Nilsson, professor of plant reproduction biology at the Umeå Plant Science Center and co-author of the article.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, Magnus Berggren – professor of Organic Electronics at Linköping University’s Norrköping campus – has been researching printed electronics on paper. Now and then the idea of putting electronics into the tree itself cropped up, but research funders were indifferent. Thanks to independent research money from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation at the end of 2012, Professor Berggren could hire three researchers with new doctorates: Roger Gabrielsson, Eleni Stavrinidou and Eliot Gomez. The task was to investigate – with the help of the more senior researchers at Linköping University and the Umeå Plant Science Center – whether it was possible to introduce and even produce electronics in plants.
The answer, in other words, was yes. In just about two years, the research group succeeded in getting plants to produce both analog and digital circuits.
Mr Gabrielsson found the polymer PEDOT-S, which turned out to be soluble in water. When it was absorbed into a rose, for example, it was converted into a hydrogel, which – suitably enough – forms a thin film along the channel through which the flower absorbs water and nutrients. Ms Stavrinidou then succeeded in getting the plants to produce ten-centimeter segments, 50 cm thick, of membranes – or film – of the conductive polymer. With an electrode at each end and a gate in the middle, an analog transistor was created.
“We’ve produced the perfect measurement values, which show that it really is a fully functional transistor,” Ms Stavrinidou says.
She has measured the conductive ability of the polymer from 0.13 siemens/cm all the way up to 1 siemens/cm.
Mr Gomez used another method common in plant biology – vacuum infiltration – to send another PEDOT variant together with nanocellulose fibres into the foliage of the rose. The cellulose forms a 3-D structure with small cavities – like a sponge – inside the rose leaf, and the cavities are filled with the conductive polymer. Electrochemical cells are thus formed with a number of pixels, partitioned by the veins. The electrolytes come from the fluid in the leaf. This means that the leaf functions in somewhat the same way as the printed character display on a roll that is manufactured at Acreo Swedish ICT in Norrköping.
“We can create electrochromatic plants in which the leaves change color – it’s cool, but maybe not so useful,” Mr Gomez says.
But what is otherwise a weakness of organic electronics – the cold and the wet – is solved by the plant when it encapsulates the polymer and protects it from wind and weather.
“It seems as if the polymers we use had been created for their function,” Mr Gabrielsson states.
Professor Berggren sees an entirely new field of research:
“Now we can really start talking about ‘power plants’ – we can place sensors in plants and use the energy formed in the chlorophyll, produce green antennas or produce new materials. Everything occurs naturally, and we use the plants’ own very advanced, unique systems,” he says.
“As far as we know, there are no previously published research results regarding electronics produced in plants. No one’s done this before,” Professor Berggren states.
Read more: LiU researchers create electronic plants
The Latest on: Electronic plants
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Electronic plants” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Electronic plants
- STADLER completes Switzerland’s largest electronic waste sorting planton December 10, 2023 at 4:04 pm
“It is the largest processing plant for electronic waste in Switzerland and it must ensure high throughput and capability to process the volumes we receive,” says Patrick Wollenmann, Project Manager ...
- Vietnam’s first LNG power plants on track for commercial runson December 9, 2023 at 12:19 am
The under-construction Nhon Trach 3 and Nhon Trach, the first LNG-to-power plants in Vietnam, are set to begin commercial operations on November 15, 2024 and May 15, 2025, respectively.
- Tata plans to invest Rs 40,000 crore for chip plant in Assamon December 8, 2023 at 10:49 pm
Tata submitted a proposal for a chip processing plant in Assam, with an outlay of Rs 40,000 crore. Assam chief minister confirmed the application and ...
- Three water treatment plants among nine projects worth Rs.92 crores get nod under AMRUT 2.0on December 8, 2023 at 6:39 am
CHANDIGARH: In order to provide 100% water supply facility to the people of the state as per the directions of Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann, the state level technical committee has appraised the ...
- Tata Group to Propel Apple's iPhone Production in India with New Assembly Planton December 8, 2023 at 5:33 am
Apple Inc.'s strategy to diversify its manufacturing base and reduce its reliance on China is receiving a significant boost, thanks to Tata Group's initiative to set up a new iPhone assembly unit in ...
- UAW Gains Traction In Volkswagen Tennessee Plant As A Thousand Employees Sign Union Authorization Cardson December 8, 2023 at 3:21 am
This development is a part of the UAW's ongoing public drive to unionize the entire nonunion auto sector in the U.S, following their record contracts with the Detroit Three automakers.
- 2023 Global Sourcebook: Massive Plant Site Growingon December 7, 2023 at 12:10 pm
Hyundai Motor Co. opened its first assembly plant in 1968 in Ulsan, South Korea, and over the following decades has grown the site to include five independent manufacturing plants over 1.9 sq miles.
- Two thermal power plant units in frontline zone shut down due to Russian attackon December 6, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Two units of a thermal power plant in the frontline zone have shut down due to a ... off all non-essential devices like conditioners and heaters, as well as unplug electronic devices on standby such ...
- Must-Have Indoor Plants To Reduce Stresson December 5, 2023 at 10:30 am
In today's fast-paced world, we don't have time to focus on ourselves, minimize stress, and improve our health. Here are few indoor plants to maintain at home and at the workplace to reduce anxiety ...
- Geomega receives $2 million from NGen for rare earth element recycling planton November 27, 2023 at 11:47 am
Montréal-based Geomega Resources has received $2.04 million from Next Generation Manufacturing Canada ( NGen) for the construction of a rare earths recycling demonstration plant in St-Hubert, Québec.
via Bing News