A new semiconducting polymer degrades away in a weak acid, opening up the potential for electronic devices that do not leave behind toxic waste when they pass their prime.
Researchers at Stanford Univ. created a conjugated polymer made from diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) with imine linkages as the basis for their new system, which they call a transient electronic device. They also invented a new form of cellulose substrate. The ultimate goal is to make sensors and monitoring devices that can work in and on the human body and degrade into nontoxic components once their work is done, says Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering and materials science at Stanford Univ.
Bao and her lab have long been interested in using human skin, which is stretchable, self-healing, and biodegradable, as the inspiration for designing electronic components. The team has managed to create both stretchable and self-healing semiconductors and conductors and is now tackling biodegradability. The challenge, Bao says, is that most biodegradable polymers rely on ester bonds, which can be hydrolyzed under the conditions found in the body. Bioimplants need to be stable until they are triggered to decay.
Would you like to reuse content from CEP Magazine? It’s easy to request permission to reuse content. Simply click here to connect instantly to licensing services, where you can choose from a list of options regarding how you would like to reuse the desired content and complete the transaction.