March 8, 2012
Blood, Milk And Mucus Are The Future Of Computer Engineering
Researchers have successfully taking a first step towards building biodegradable display screens for electronic devices.
Tel Aviv University researchers have created protein-based transistors from organic materials found in the human body.
They used blood, milk and mucus proteins to help take the first step in making silicon an outdated formula to build semi-conductors.
The TAU researchers said when they applied the organic materials to any base material, the molecules self-assembled to create a semi-conducting film on a nano-scale.
The three different kinds of proteins can create a complete circuit with electronic and optical capabilities.
Ph.D. student Elad Mentovich said the blood protein has the ability to absorb oxygen, which permits the "doping" of semi-conductors with specific chemicals in order to create specific technological properties.
The milk proteins form the fibers which are the building blocks of the transistors, while the muscosal proteins keep red, green, and blue fluorescent dyes separate, creating the white light emission that is necessary for optics.
The natural abilities of each protein allowed the researchers to have "unique control" over the organic transistor, allowing adjustments for conductivity, memory storage, and fluorescence.
Mentovich said technology is shifting from a silicon era to a carbon era, and this new type of transistor could help play an important role.
Transistors built from these proteins could be ideal for devices that need to be flexible, whether it be screens, cell phones or tablets.
Because the researchers are using natural proteins to build their transistors, the products they create will be biodegradable.
Their research, which has appeared in the journals Nano Letters and Advanced Materials, recently received a silver award at the Materials Research Society Graduate Student Awards in Boston, MA.
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