An ingredient found naturally in coffee could make semiconductors work faster, according to a study (opens in a new tab) from the Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan.

The researchers formed a thin layer of caffeic acid on a gold electrode in an organic semiconductor, through a process known as vacuum deposition.

This could have increased the current flow of the semiconductor by up to 100 times, measured through a process called the Kelvin probe method.

How did the process work?

According to the research, after a thin layer of caffeic acid formed on the electrode surface, the caffeic acid molecules spontaneously aligned on the electrode surface, allowing faster current flow.

While that doesn't mean you can spill coffee on your mobile workstation to increase your processing times, researchers in Japan believe the breakthrough could have practical applications.

These include the development of fully sustainable organic semiconductor devices, which could potentially be created entirely with biomass-derived materials.

Although organic semiconductors, such as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and organic solar cells (OPVs), already exist, researchers have pointed to the environmental impact of phasing out these technologies.

The researchers highlighted the current implementation of electrode modification layers, which are used to speed up the flow of electrical charges in semiconductors, highlighting how the use of these materials "may harm aquatic organisms."

The use of caffeic acid, which can be derived entirely from plants, could reduce the need to use unsustainable chemicals in semiconductor production, the researcher says.

  • Do you want to get your work done faster without another coffee? Check out our guide to the best workstations
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