Protein-based transistors are created from organic materials inside us and could be used to create electric circuits.
Researchers from Tel Aviv university have created transistors (semi-conductors used to power electronic devices) from proteins found in the human body, which could be used for next generation technology that is flexible and biodegradable.
They worked with blood, milk and mucus proteins, which are able to self-assemble into a semi-conducting film. These three proteins together create a complete circuit with electronic and optical capabilities, each with its own unique ability. Blood proteins can absorb oxygen, which allows specific technological properties to be created by “doping” semi-conductors with chemicals. Milk proteins are very strong and form the fibers that are the building blocks of the transistors. Mucosal proteins are able to keep red, green and blue fluorescent dyes apart to create the white light emission necessary for advanced optics. These abilities give the researchers “unique control” over the transistor, allowing them to make adjustments for conductivity, memory storage, fluorescence, etc.
These protein-based transistors could lead to a new range of smaller and more flexible technologies including screens, cell phones, tablets and microprocessor chips. Because organic materials are used to build the transistors, the products created will also be biodegradable, which is environmentally friendly and addresses the growing problem of electronic waste.