A new wave of self-destructing electronics is in the works, thanks to Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Leon Bellan, of Vanderbilt University. If this form of circuitry isn’t kept above 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit, it’ll dissolve completely in water.
The chip is made out of a spinable polymer, a circuit that can self-destruct is accumulating a huge interest from a variety of fields. One intrigued industry is the military, aiming to conceal sensitive information from malicious adversaries. The medical industry is also interested in this new design. Doctors could utilize this technology within temporary implants that can self-destruct after they’ve served their purpose.
Example: Let’s say you use this technology to make an RFID wireless tag. You could implant important information in a person, and body temperature would keep it intact. If the tag were removed or the bearer died, it would dissolve. You could use it for implanted medical devices as well—to cause them to disintegrate, it would only require applying ice to the skin.
Circuits that can destroy themselves are currently available, but are designed to function normally until they encounter a certain outside condition, such as water, light, or acid. Bellan and Xin Zhang, mechanical engineering graduate student, decided to approach this idea at a different angle by designing a circuit that will only function within a specific environment.
Using a silver nanowire embedded in a polymer, the simple circuit board can currently only power an LED light. When the electronics were sitting in warm water heated by a hot plate, they operated without issue. However, once the hot plate was turned off, they started to dissolve within minutes.
Looking ahead, Bellan plans to upgrade the design by integrating semiconductors to make transistors. This addition will be used to incorporate wireless capabilities to the device. This technology will change many industries and their applications, such as; the military, the medical field and mnay more.
Read our other blog: Biodegradable and Dissolvable Electronics to curb E-waste
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