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Electronic waste is an increasingly serious problem, not least because it is hard to recycle the silicon-based components that make up the bulk of consumer electronic devices. Researchers at Duke University in the US have now taken a step towards remedying this by creating the first fully recyclable transistors made from carbon-based “inks” that can be printed on paper or another environmentally friendly substrate. While these devices are unlikely to replace their silicon cousins any time soon, they could find their way into specialist applications such as environmental sensors or biomedical sensing patches relatively quickly.

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