Friday, 20 November 2015

First electronic plants developed

Professor Magnus Berggren of the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University in Sweden along with Ove Nilsson, professor of plant reproduction biology, Dr. Roger Gabrielsson, and Dr. Eleni Stavrinidou are the first to successfully incorporate electronic polymers in living plants. The development was reported in the Nov. 20, 2015, edition of the journal Science Advances. The researchers successfully incorporated electronic architecture in all parts of a rose.
The most difficult hurtle to cross in the project was the development of a polymer that was flexible enough to accommodate the multiple surfaces that plant vascular systems have without producing rejection.
The researches developed a polymer called PEDOT-S that self-assembles in any part of plant tissue without interfering with the movement of materials through the plant that are necessary for life. Variants of the polymer have been developed that fit plant roots, trunks, and leaves. The plants began producing transistors, logic gates, and even displays using the polymer.
The original objective of the research was to develop an affordable and usable method of tapping the energy produced by photosynthesis as a substitute energy source. The level of success far exceeds the original goal. The methodology can not only produce energy, it can be used to control plant growth and may be a means for producing abundant food through human control of plant chemistry. Once fully developed, the methodology may even lead to house plants that can function as lights. The first electronic plant ever made by man was perhaps fittingly a rose.

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