Tag Archives: engineering

Roses conducting electricity

A team of Swedish analysts have created flexible electronic circuits — produced using pliable organic materials — inside a rose. Their material makes them conceivably compatible with tissues and has impelled research endeavors to utilize them to diagnose and treat diseases.

Their idea was to utilize the plant’s own structural engineering and biology to assist them in assembling devices on the inside. They aimed to assemble polymer-based “wires” on the inside of a plant’s xylem. They expected that on the off-chance that they could break down conducting polymer building blocks in water, maybe plants could pull them up the channels and connect them into wires.

Swedish researchers have created a circuit inside the stems and leaves of rose cuttings. Graphic from Linkoping University.
Swedish researchers have created a circuit inside the stems and leaves of rose cuttings.
Graphic from Linkoping University.

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After Magnus Berggren, a materials scientist and electrical engineer at Linköping University, Norrköping, in Sweden, and his associates tried more than a dozen different polymer electronic building blocks — all unsuccessful — they tried an organic electronic building block called PEDOT-S:H. Each of these building blocks comprises of a short, repeating chain of a conductive organic molecule with short arms coming off each section of the chain.

Each of the arms has a sulfur-containing group bonded to a hydrogen atom. Berggren’s group found that when they set them in the water, the rose stems promptly pulled the short polymer chains up the xylem channels. The intact plants pulled the organics up through the roots also, much more gradually, however, Berggren says.

Once inside, the chemistry in those channels pulled the hydrogen atoms off the short arms, a change that provoked the sulfur groups on neighboring chains to link together. The team then added electronic probes to opposite ends of these strings, and found that they were wires, directing electricity all down the line.

When that worked, Berggren’s group included other electronic patches on the surface of their rose stems to make transistors that could switch the current in a wire on and off. As they report in Science Advances, they went ahead to utilize an arrangement of different techniques to show they could get leaves to take up organic electronics, creating an array of pixels.

This isn’t the first time researchers have infused plants with electrical materials, but the first time they’ve utilized the plants’ own vascular framework to form a circuit. This innovation could give a method of controlling plant biology for experimental exploration, to collect energy — or as another option to genetic engineering.

In the long run, the development may permit individuals to collect energy from trees and shrubs, not by chopping them down and utilizing them for fuel, but by connecting them directly into their photosynthesis hardware. It also may be possible to harness plants’ photosynthesis capacities to create electricity directly, allowing us to procure the sun’s energy without destroying the plants.

Differential relationships

Melanie bent down to slip her pink ballet flat back on to her foot. This was the fourth time today it slipped off, but she hardly paid it any mind; nothing that happened today could bring her down. Tonight was the first formal for the sorority she was rushing, and she was going to turn heads. She had spent hours at the mall the previous weekend trying to find the perfect dress to show off to her future sisters.

She ached for approval, and longed to receive it this evening under the soft lights of the ball-themed formal.

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Photo By: Danielle Johnson. Students: Ashley Willard and Timothy Simmons

“What did you say? Sorry, I missed it,” Melanie interrupted, sunlight blinding her as she looked up to Brandon. She rose to her feet, shoe and sense of self secured.

Brandon frowned. He knew the maintenance of their friendship would be difficult during their sophomore year. With Melanie joining her sorority and Brandon striving to keep up in his engineering classes, they were rarely in the same place at the same time. Although Melanie seemed ecstatic to be living out her college fantasies, Brandon couldn’t be more miserable.

He had known since his first general engineering class he wasn’t cut out to be an engineer. If his differential equations class didn’t prove to be the crux of his misery, it would be linear algebra.

“Why don’t you just change majors?” Melanie had asked. He had come to her, sobbing, after he received the grade for his first test. She didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. If he wasn’t content with engineering, he should try something else.

He had bared his soul to her, and she had answered as flippantly as if he had asked which shirt to wear.

What is the CSAT STEM Club?

Photo Courtesy of Megan O'Dowd.

The CSAT STEM Club stands for the College of Science and Technology in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics disciplines. The club was established to bring together students from a variety of fields of study in the College of Science and Technology. It provides students with important information concerning internships, research opportunities, community service projects and study groups. CSAT STEM Club is an academic and social community.

This club has all the standard officer positions just like any other club on campus, but there is the added position of webmaster. The webmaster is in charge of maintaining and updating the club