To accompany ‘Balsa wood transistors could usher in ‘greener’ electronics’
- A transistor is a crucial building block of computers and other electronic devices. Consider the similarity of the word transistor to words such as transfer and transition. Based on these similarities, make a guess about what a “transistor” might do with electrical current running through it. Explain your reasoning in one sentence.
- Imagine a new generation of computers were released made entirely of wood. To what extent would this surprise you? Would you consider this a more typical or unusual use for wood products? Briefly explain what you know about this material that helped you in coming up with your answer.
- What is the role of transistors in modern electronics?
- What does it mean to say the new transistor is a “proof of concept”?
- From what material are transistors usually made?
- Regarding the wood’s structure, what did Linköping researchers achieve by removing the lignin? After removing the lignin, what did researchers do next to modify the wood?
- How many pieces of treated wood go into making one transistor?
- List three types of wood on which researchers tested this new technique. According to Van Chinh “Robert” Tran, which wood type performed best?
- What characteristic of this wood type did Tran point to as a possible explanation for its better performance?
- Describe one way “green” electronics such as those described in this story benefit the environment. What is one way this benefit might also help you personally?
- Tran mentions that the Linköping team has “discussed growing the transistor inside the tree.” Imagine a world where computer parts could be grown inside living trees. Consider how being able to grow living electronics might open new possibilities in technology. How might such a world look different from what we have today? Feel free to be creative! Come up with two specific ways that such a world might look different from the world in which we now live.