While we expect all of our electronic empire to have a long life; there might be valid use-cases when the electronic components should destruct themselves. For example, a medical device may dissolve harmlessly within the body of the human after doing its job or a spy-device may destruct itself after relaying all the data it's supposed to gather. Reza Montazami, professor of mechanical engineer at the Iowa State University has thought of a new kind of electronics that can melt or dissolve itself leaving no trace of its existence. Montazami is already on its way to developing the necessary materials and technology to make this happen. He recently demonstrated a degradable antenna that can collect and transmit data and destruct on its own in water.
Montazami and his team of researchers have succeeded in developing a new type of degradable polymer composite material that allows them to achieve kind of electronics they're planning to develop. The team calls the technology "transient electronics" and say that it's a very new type of domain of study. The transient electronics can bring a revolution in the medical and military domains, the team believes.
Prof. Montazami Shows Degradable Antenna. Photo Credit: Bob Elbert
Showcasing their progress, Montazami demonstrated a blue LED mounted on a clear polymer composite base. With its electrodes embedded inside the base; the setup functions like a regular LED. The magic begins when a drop of water is added. The wiring begins to melt and the light goes out in a matter of few seconds. The second drop of water dissolves whatever is left out. The team has succeeded in developing transient capacitors and resistors as well.
The uses of transient electronics could be varied. For example, if you lose your credit card with the transient electronic chip; you could simply send a signal to it to self-destruct. The technology can also be used in determining the freshness of the food items with sensors degrading over a period of time or at certain environmental parameters.
Check out further information on the official source below.
Source: Iowa State University