These Transient Electronic Devices can Degrade and Disappear Themselves

Moisture triggered electronics in a controllable manner.

These Transient Electronic Devices can Degrade and Disappear Themselves
Explored illustration of integrated electronics that includes a transistor, a diode, a memory, a capacitor, an antenna, and a resistor, with interconnects and dielectrics on a moisture-sensitive degradable polymer substrate. The inset in the lower right of the figure shows the top view (left). Optical image of the circuit fabricated on the substrate (right). Credit: Gao et al., Sci. Adv. 2017;3: e1701222

Most of the electronic devices do not work properly in humid conditions. As a result, most electronics fail to oxidation. Thus, scientists found a better way on this. They have developed electronic devices from materials that degrade much faster than normal under humid conditions.

Scientists from U.S in collaboration with China have cultivated transient electronic devices that can degrade and disappear themselves on demand. They just make use of moisture in the air.

These Transient Electronic Devices can Degrade and Disappear Themselves
Optical images showing the time-sequential dissolution of the device under 75% relative humidity. Credit: Gao et al., Sci. Adv. 2017;3: e1701222

The devices merely rely on the process called Hydrolysis. Thus, they work due to the activation of corrosive acids in the materials used.

Scientists have previously demonstrated such kind of transient electronic devices, but they only work in aqueous solutions and degrade by water molecules.

In this demonstration, scientists used a material that degrades in the humid environment called the polymer polyanhydride. They then applied thin film coatings by integrating polymer with electronics. Applying films enabled researchers to operate normally until the humidity is applied.

These Transient Electronic Devices can Degrade and Disappear Themselves
Schematic illustration of the moisture-triggered transience of the demonstration platform. Credit: Gao et al., Sci. Adv. 2017;3: e1701222

To make concept applicable, scientists used several types of devices such as resistors, capacitors, transistors and even Optoelectronics and diodes.

Scientists believe that such devices would be useful in security applications. They might also be used to reduce the number of electronic components that pollute the environment and in medical implants and other types of sensors as well.

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