March 13, 2012
@Solarfeeds published a story this morning that may give entirely new definitions to recycling and biofuels.
For decades, silicon has been a primary ingredient in semiconductor and transistor technology; however, new nano-sized semiconductors rely on something more organic: proteins found inside the human body.
Tel Aviv University (TAU) researchers have created a new generation of protein-based transistors which are flexible, biodegradable, and less harmful to the environment during the manufacturing process.
In the past, semiconductor manufacturers have carved out circuitry from single sheets of silicon, a process which limits size and flexibility of the product. TAU researchers have combined blood, milk and mucus proteins, and observed on a molecular level as these materials naturally self-assemble into semi conducting film. Together, the proteins help each other make a complete circuit.
Blood proteins absorb oxygen, helping to form a vacuum. Milk proteins grow fiber formations, which then serve as natural building blocks for transistors. Mucus proteins maintain the critical separation of the red, green and blue fluorescent dyes, which combine to form white light required to energize displays and other optics.
I’m not sure of the implications of integrating biohazardous material into devices we touch and press against our faces, but maybe by the time this technology matures, these nano devices will be embedded beneath our flesh, coded with our DNA to prevent surgical identity theft, and auto-powered by our own blood flow and secretions. Can’t wait!
Our parents were right. We need plenty of protein in our diet. We may be required as fuel one day!