Roses and electronic circuitry meet in a breakthrough experiment conducted by scientists with the Linköping University, Sweden. The cyborg rose is a first proof of electronics produced with the help of plants according to Magnus Berggren, the director of the Strategic Research Center for Organic Bioelectronics with the Linköping University.
Since the 1990s, the Laboratory of Organic Electronics (LOE) has been conducting research on the potential applications of electronics in plants. This is the first successful application in which roses and electronic circuitry meet in a breakthrough experiment.
Following several attempts and combinations the scientific team hit just the right mix of elements to create the first cyborg rose. Through the plant’s stem a synthetic polymer dubbed PEDOT-S was injected to reach the rose’s xylems, the vascular tissues of plants.
Typically conducive of water and nutrients through a plant’s body, the xylem channels transported the synthetic polymer as well. Once absorbed the synthetic polymer assembles into a conductor of electrical signals.
To test this capability, the cyborg rose’s synthetic polymer wires were connected to the electrolytes which are naturally produced in the xylem channels. Thus, the cyborg rose became an electrochemical transistor. With the same experiment the researchers were able to prove the first plant digital logic gate.
The breakthrough experiment continued with the same synthetic polymer PEDOT-S being injected in the leaves of the rose. Here, it was stimulated to create electrochemical cells displaced in groups and acting much like ‘pixels’ would in a digital image. When applying voltage to the leaves, the pixels changed colors.
With this experiment researchers are convinced that the tip of the iceberg into a new era of power plants has just emerged. Green economy might take a whole new turn in light of the findings published in the Science Advances journal. For instance, green antennas could be embodied by plants enriched with sensor working in full harmony plants’ own systems.
Regulating crop growth making use of electronic plants is another potential application. Monitoring environmental changes with the help of electronic plants is another exciting application. Many more could follow now that scientists with the Linköping University have revealed how electronic circuitry naturally functions with plants.
Photo Credits: Stavrinidou et al. 2015
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