01 Dec 2015 |
World innovation news |
Materials & Manufacturing
A Swedish University Created a Bionic Rose
Based on the observation that plant’s nutrient system is very similar to electronic circuits, researchers used PEDOT-S, a semi conductive and water-soluble polymer which doesn’t alter the rose. Once the polymer dissolved in the water, the scientists immersed cut roses in the solution during 24 to 48 hours. Thanks to capillarity action, they noticed that the plants had absorbed the substance through their xylem – the usual vascular system aiming to absorb water and nutrients – producing a ten-centimeter wired segment inside the plant.
By linking those wires and probes coated with PEDOT, researchers were then able to create an electrochemical transistor, and to convert the plants signals into electronics.
In a second experimentation, Magnus Berggren’s team worked to create electrochromatic plants whose leaves could change colour. Using vacuum infiltration, they submerged leaves in a PEDOT solution with nanocellulose fibres. Cellulose then forms 3-D structure with small spongy cavities absorbing the polymer. Stimulated by voltage, the leaves behave like pixels and subtly change colour with blue and green reflections.
“We can place sensors in plants and use the energy formed in the chlorophyll to produce green antennas or produce new materials. Everything occurs naturally, and we use the plant’s own very advanced, unique systems,” Magnus Berggren says.
In addition to improve the analysis and the understanding of plant’s growth, this discovery might as well lead to a whole new alternative source of energy.
The results can be consulted in Science Advances.