Disaster struck at the poster session tonight. I thought that the session organisers had decided to extend the reach of refreshments provided to include rose wine (a summer drink) and I gladly took a glass full of the pink stuff. To my horror I discovered it was cranberry juice. Tsk.
Luckily, to calm my nerves I had the pleasure of talking to Charlotte Mallet a PhD student from the University of Angers, France. She explained to me that she was trying to take biomass – cellulosic waste from agricultural processes – and make electronic devices.
So far she has managed to make oligomers based on furans, derived from the fructose molecules she gets from the biomass. From this she can make an organic plastic and from that a transistor. The properties of this device aren’t quite good enough for industry, Mallet says, because they have low mobility, which means they can’t carry electrons very well. But she is working hard to improve this and hopes to have a news device by September.
I’m not sure how seriously this proposition will be taken in attempts to save the world from burning fossil fuels, but perhaps every little helps.