Some technical improvements of various devices, especially when it comes to electronics, come at a cost of increased use of toxic materials. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are better than incandescents, but the CFLs require the use of a small amount of mercury. LEDs, like many other electronics, have been going through developments to improve efficiency.
Recently, Professor Andrew Steckl, a University of Cincinnati researcher, has found that he can improve the efficiency of LEDs by using DNA, specifically, from salmon sperm.
“Biological materials have many technologically important qualities — electronic, optical, structural, magnetic,” says Steckl. “But certain materials are hard for to duplicate, such as DNA and proteins.” He also wanted a source that was widely available, would not have to be mined, and was not subject to any organization or country’s monopoly. His answer?
“Salmon sperm is considered a waste product of the fishing industry. It’s thrown away by the ton,” says Steckl with a smile. “It’s natural, renewable and perfectly biodegradable.”
Steckl has also stated that other sources of DNA may prove to be equally useful. The US Air Force is funding this research, so the first practical applications of this will probably be in the military.
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