Scientists in November 2015 created a rose that acted like a fully functioning transistor using conducting hydrogel that grows into the rose stems.
Assistant Professor Roger Gabrielsson,who was a member of the group created a new material specially tailored for this application . This material grows without any external stimulus. It flows inside the rose creating long conducting threads not only in the stem but also in the petals and leaves.
“We have been able to charge the rose repeatedly, for hundreds of times without any loss on the performance of the device. The levels of energy storage we have achieved are of the same order of magnitude as those in supercapacitors. The plant can, without any form of optimization of the system, potentially power our ion pump, for example, and various types of sensors,” says Eleni Stavrinidou, Assistant Professor at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics.
“This research is in a very early stage, and what the future will bring is an open question,” says professor Stavrinidou.
Examples of what we can use this technology is autonomous energy systems, fuel cells inside plants and the ability of harvesting energy from plants.
“A few years ago, we demonstrated that it is possible to create electronic plants, ‘power plants’, but we have now shown that the research has practical applications. We have not only shown that energy storage is possible, but also that we can deliver systems with excellent performance,” says Professor Magnus Berggren, Linköping University.
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation have been giving unlimited funding to the researchers. The foundation put Professor Magnus Berggren a Wallenberg Scholar in 2012.