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Lucent wood, graphene semiconductor and a new type of transistor

Scientists at the University of Maryland are working on transparent wood and its possible applications. To create it, researchers decolourize lignin, which holds bundles of wood cells together and gives it its brown colour. After adding epoxy resin, the material turned out to be about three times stronger than lucid plastics such as plexiglass and about ten times stronger than glass. Wood can be used, for example, in smartphone screens or structural elements such as windows.

Silicon semiconductors that allow power to flow, previously used in electronics, e.g. in phone and laptop chips, are reaching their limits. A breakthrough step towards the next generation of computers may be graphene, approximately 200 times stronger than steel – a flexible material consisting of a single sheet of carbon atoms. The graphene semiconductor developed by American scientists can produce even faster and more energy-efficient electronic devices.

A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, has developed a new type of transistor – an element that controls the power flow in electronics. By better coping with excess heat and its precise control, such a transistor is intended to solve the problem of microscopic hot spots in chips, reducing the efficiency and durability of devices. Yongjie Hu, a research team member, assures that this is an inexpensive solution that can soon be used to produce, for example, lithium-ion batteries or combustion engines.

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