So you thought electronic circuits should be protected from moisture? Well, we now have a new kind of electronics technology that allows circuits to be dissolved in water and the technology would be immensely useful in temporary medical implants. The technology is paving a way for the new kind of biodegradable electronics. A team of research engineers from Tufts University, University of Illinois and Northwestern University joined hands to develop this new technology to create electronic circuits from soluble conductors (using magnesium and magnesium oxide) and fine sheets of silicon. The circuits are high-performance systems that can significantly help in reducing the electronic waste.
The circuits to be used in medical implants in body can function for a predetermined period of time and then dissolve in the body; eliminating the need for operation to remove them. The engineers have performed successful operations on a rat by implanting a sensor to monitor bacterial infection near the surgical incisions. Professor John Rogers, University of Illinois calls the technology as 'transient electronics'. He mentions that since the early days of electronics the focus was always on building robusts electronic circuits that last forever and deliver a solid performance. But the new technology shifts the focus 180 degrees - to develop the temporary electronic circuits that perform only for the limited time and then disappear. Prof. Rogers believes that this type of approach can lead to several newer type of opportunities that were not imagined before.
The team has already built several electronic components including a transistor, a diode, power coils, temperatures and strain sensors, radio oscillators and a 64px digital camera. We believe that the technology will gain lot of importance in coming future. We already imagine being guilt-free while throwing away our used cameras and phones right into the lake.