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Water-soluble silicon leads to dissolvable electronics

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Posted January 16, 2015

Researchers working in a materials science lab are literally watching their work disappear before their eyes—but intentionally so. They’re developing water-soluble integrated circuits that dissolve in water or biofluids in months, weeks, or even a few days. This technology, called transient electronics, could have applications for biomedical implants, zero-waste sensors, and many other semiconductor devices.

water-soluble circuits

(a) Optical and SEM images of a transient CMOS circuit dissolving at various times over 42 days. (b) Optical images of an ultrathin CMOS circuit on a silk substrate dissolving over 16 hours. Both circuits are immersed in phosphate-buffered saline solution at 70 °C and pH 10. Credit: Yin, et al. ©2015 AIP Publishing LLC

The researchers, led by John A. Rogers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Fiorenzo Omenetto at Tufts University, have published a study in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters in which they analyzed the performance and dissolution times of various semiconductor materials.

The work builds on previous research, by the authors and others, which demonstrated that silicon—the most commonly used semiconductor material in today’s electronic devices—can dissolve in water.

Read more at: Phys.org

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