Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Industry and Business News .

New 'transient electronics' disappear when no longer needed
by Staff Writers
New Orleans LA (SPX) Apr 11, 2013

Illustration only.

Scientists have described key advances toward practical uses of a new genre of tiny, biocompatible electronic devices that could be implanted into the body to relieve pain or battle infection for a specific period of time, and then dissolve harmlessly.

These "transient electronics," described here at the 245th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, could have other uses, including consumer electronics products with a pre-engineered service life.

John Rogers, Ph.D., who led the research, explained that it arises from a view of electronics fundamentally different from the mindset that has prevailed since the era of electronic "chips," integrated circuits and microprocessors, which dawned almost 50 years ago.

"The goal of the electronics industry has always been to build durable devices that last forever with stable performance," Rogers explained. "But many new opportunities open up once you start thinking about electronics that could disappear in a controlled and programmable way."

Those opportunities, he added, include cell phones and other mobile devices that stop working on a timetable corresponding to the time for upgrading to a new model. Instead of adding to the $50 million of so-called e-waste generated every year, the devices would simply break down.

Medical implants that are only needed for a few weeks could just disappear, without requiring an extra surgery to remove them from the body. And no one would have to retrieve dozens of transient water-quality sensors from a river undergoing water quality monitoring. They would dissolve without a trace and without harm to the environment.

Although other researchers have developed so-called bioresorbable medical devices that disappear over time in the body, Rogers' team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the first to produce such broadly applicable technology, which has many more potential uses than other devices.

The scientists have designed transient electronics as temperature sensors, solar cells and miniature digital cameras, for instance. Moreover, previous bioresorbable devices were made of different materials that only partially dissolved, leaving behind residues, and they did not perform as well as Rogers' current devices.

The electronics are enclosed in material that dissolves completely after a certain period of time when exposed to water or body fluids, somewhat like dissolvable sutures. By altering the number of layers of the wrapping, scientists can define everything about how the device will dissolve in the body or in the environment, including its overall lifetime, said Rogers.

The devices perform just as well as conventional electronics and function normally until the encapsulating layer disappears. Once that happens, it takes about 30 minutes for the electronic connections to dissolve away, and the device stops working. Current versions of the devices remain operable for a few weeks. Rogers' team is researching ways to make devices that last a few years.

In his ACS report, Rogers described key advances in the technology. One advance established for the first time that transient electronic devices, implanted into laboratory mice, actually work in battling infections and do, indeed, dissolve when done.

Rogers' team previously only thought that would happen. The devices produced localized heat, which prevented bacterial growth and surgery-related infections from developing in the mice. The findings add to the confidence that similar devices can be designed to reduce pain by stimulating certain nerves or facilitate bone growth or wound healing.

The scientists also reported progress in making the devices with conventional manufacturing processes instead of meticulously building the electronics one-by-one by hand in a laboratory. "It's a step toward producing these devices with the kind of manufacturing processes that are already in wide use for traditional electronics like silicon-based microprocessors and memory technology," said Rogers.

Another advance involved the materials for making and powering the devices without an external electricity source. Rogers said, for instance, that the latest transient electronic devices incorporate zinc oxide, which is "piezoelectric."

It means that thin, flexible devices made with zinc oxide could produce electricity when bent or twisted - perhaps by movement of muscles in the body, pulsation of blood vessels or beating of the heart.


Related Links
American Chemical Society
Computer Chip Architecture, Technology and Manufacture
Nano Technology News From

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

KAIST develops a low-power 60 GHz radio frequency chip for mobile devices
Daejeon, South Korea (SPX) Apr 06, 2013
As the capacity of handheld devices increases to accommodate a greater number of functions, these devices have more memory, larger display screens, and the ability to play higher definition video files. If the users of mobile devices, including smartphones, tablet PCs, and notebooks, want to share or transfer data on one device with that of another device, a great deal of time and effort a ... read more

Accidental discovery may lead to improved polymers

What's between a slip and a slide?

Light may recast copper as chemical industry 'holy grail'

New camera system creates high-resolution 3-D images from up to a kilometer away

Fourth Lockheed Martin MUOS Satellite Entering System Test as Communication Module and Multi-Beam Antenna Installed

Advancing secure communications: A better single-photon emitter for quantum cryptography

Northrop Grumman Awarded U.S. Navy Contract to Upgrade, Enhance NGC2P Tactical Data Link Processor

Soldiers and Families Can Suffer Negative Effects from Modern Communication Technologies

Arianespace receives the second Vega for launch from French Guiana

Future Looks Bright for Private US Space Ventures

Europe's next ATV resupply spacecraft enters final preparatio?ns for its Ariane 5 launch

ILS Proton Launches Satmex 8 Satellite for Satmex

Extreme Miniaturization: Seven Devices, One Chip to Navigate without GPS

Down the slopes with space app in your pocket

Lockheed Martin Team Completes Delta Preliminary Design for Next GPS III Satellite Capabilities

China preps civilian use of GPS system

Israel boosts air force 'pack of leopards

More delays in Brazil air force upgrades

Fasten seatbelts for bumpier flights: climate study

Hong Kong airbridge collapse rips off plane door

Redesigned Material Could Lead to Lighter, Faster Electronics

A step toward optical transistors?

New 'transient electronics' disappear when no longer needed

World Record Silicon-based Millimeter-wave Power Amplifiers

Ball Aerospace Begins Integration Phase for DigitalGlobe's WorldView-3 Satellite

RADARSAT-1 Malfunction

Satellite Sandwich Technique Improves Analysis of Geographical Data

National Security Drives Growth for GIS Professionals in Government Sector

Albania to hold referendum on waste imports

Smog-eating pavement on greenest street in America

Latin America looks to earn from e-waste

Russia seeks Baltic pollution partnerships

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement