The future of electronics may be etched on paper, reports the Economist. Researchers have found a cheaper, easier way to make transistors using cellulose, paper’s key ingredient. Paper could soon replace silicon as a surface on which to mount transistors, which control the flow of electric currents and power most gadgets.
Traditionally, transistors are linked on silicon chips to form “logic gates.” But cellulose-based transistors could be used to cheaply tag items such food labels, banknotes and postage stamps. Paper transistors won’t replace the silicon chips in computer microprocessors until they can be miniaturized.