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Biodegradable transistors -- made from us
Date:3/7/2012

Silicon, a semi-conducting element, is the basis of most modern technology, including cellular phones and computers. But according to Tel Aviv University researchers, this material is quickly becoming outdated in an industry producing ever-smaller products that are less harmful to the environment.

Now, a team including Ph.D. students Elad Mentovich and Netta Hendler of TAU's Department of Chemistry and The Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, with supervisor Dr. Shachar Richter and in collaboration with Prof. Michael Gozin and his Ph.D. student Bogdan Belgorodsky, has brought together cutting-edge techniques from multiple fields of science to create protein-based transistors semi-conductors used to power electronic devices from organic materials found in the human body. They could become the basis of a new generation of nano-sized technologies that are both flexible and biodegradable.

Working with blood, milk, and mucus proteins which have the ability to self-assemble into a semi-conducting film, the researchers have already succeeded in taking the first step towards biodegradable display screens, and they aim to use this method to develop entire electronic devices. 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.

Building the best transistor from the bottom up

One of the challenges of using silicon as a semi-conductor is that a transistor must be created with a "top down" approach. Manufacturers start with a sheet of silicon and carve it into the shape that is needed, like carving a sculpture out of a rock. This method limits the capabilities of transistors when it comes to factors such as size and flexibility.

The TAU researchers turned to biology and chemistry for a different approach to building the ideal transistor. When they appled vari
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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