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The World’s First Electrical Wooden Transistor Has Finally Been Invented

Researchers at Linköping University and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology have achieved a major breakthrough in the field of efficiency and sustainability with the creation of the world’s first wooden electrical transistor.

According to a press release by the institutions, the team developed an unprecedented principle that enables the transistor to function continuously and regulate electricity flow without deteriorating. The transistor was created using balsa wood, which is a grainless wood that is evenly structured throughout and was filled with a conductive polymer called PEDOT:PSS. This resulted in an electrically conductive wood material that can regulate electricity flow without issues.

Previous attempts at creating wooden transistors only succeeded in regulating ion transport, but this new development has the potential for huge advancements. Isak Engquist, senior associate professor at the Laboratory for Organic Electronics at Linköping University, noted that although the wood transistor is currently slow and bulky, it has significant potential for development.

The researchers achieved this success by removing lignin from the wood, leaving only long cellulose fibers with channels where the lignin had been. The channels were then filled with the conductive polymer to create the new device. With this development, the scientific community has made significant strides in the field of sustainability, creating a more environmentally-friendly option for electronic devices.

Switching the power on and off

These changes led to a wood transistor that is able to regulate electric current and provide continuous function at a selected output level. Better yet, it could even switch the power on and off with an almost insignificant delay.

Switching it off takes about a second while turning it on takes about five seconds.

The final transistor channel is quite large but the researchers stated that this is a benefit as it could potentially tolerate a higher current than regular organic transistors, which could be important for certain future applications. 

“We didn’t create the wood transistor with any specific application in mind. We did it because we could. This is basic research, showing that it’s possible, and we hope it will inspire further research that can lead to applications in the future,” concluded Isak Engquist in the statement.