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In vivo polymerization and manufacturing of wires and supercapacitors in plants

OPEN Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | 1 Mar 2017

E Stavrinidou, R Gabrielsson, KP Nilsson, SK Singh, JF Franco-Gonzalez, AV Volkov, MP Jonsson, A Grimoldi, M Elgland, IV Zozoulenko, DT Simon and M Berggren
Electronic plants, e-Plants, are an organic bioelectronic platform that allows electronic interfacing with plants. Recently we have demonstrated plants with augmented electronic functionality. Using the vascular system and organs of a plant, we manufactured organic electronic devices and circuits in vivo, leveraging the internal structure and physiology of the plant as the template, and an integral part of the devices. However, this electronic functionality was only achieved in localized regions, whereas new electronic materials that could be distributed to every part of the plant would provide versatility in device and circuit fabrication and create possibilities for new device concepts. Here we report the synthesis of such a conjugated oligomer that can be distributed and form longer oligomers and polymer in every part of the xylem vascular tissue of a Rosa floribunda cutting, forming long-range conducting wires. The plant’s structure acts as a physical template, whereas the plant’s biochemical response mechanism acts as the catalyst for polymerization. In addition, the oligomer can cross through the veins and enter the apoplastic space in the leaves. Finally, using the plant’s natural architecture we manufacture supercapacitors along the stem. Our results are preludes to autonomous energy systems integrated within plants and distribute interconnected sensor-actuator systems for plant control and optimization.
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Blood, Vascular tissue, Transistor, Fern, Protein, Monomer, Integrated circuit, Vascular plant
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