Imagining tiny electronic devices implanted in the body and then dissolved may a step closer. Scientists are on continuously seeking to test biodegradable materials, including DNA, proteins and metals, for making transient electronics. Reportedly, now one team has created a dissolvable device component out of egg proteins, magnesium and tungsten.
To scout transient electronics potential applications beyond localized drug delivery to pollution monitoring, scientists are working on an array of natural materials concurring its performance on electronic devices and expected implantation side effects or damage.
Jikui Luo, Xiaozhi Wang and colleagues wanted to build on this work and develop a transient memory resistor with dissolvable components. This electronic component, also called a memristor, is a new type of resistor that regulates the flow of electric current and also can “remember” charges.
The researchers rapidly spun diluted egg albumin, the white part of an egg, on a silicon wafer to turn it into an ultra-thin film. Then they incorporated electrodes made out of magnesium and tungsten. Testing showed that the device’s performance matched that of non-degradable memristors. Under dry conditions in the lab, the components worked reliably for more than three months. In water, the electrodes and albumin dissolved in two to 10 hours in the lab. The rest of the chip took about three days to break down, leaving minimal residues behind.
If it happens to be a reality then electronics can also contribute towards the growing concerns of environment.