Biodegradable electronics that vanish in the body

A new class of tiny electronic devices capable of dissolving completely in water or bodily fluids

September 28, 2012

A new type of biodegradable electronics technology that could revolutionize medical implants, environmental monitors, and consumer devices has been developed by researchers at the University of Illinois, in collaboration with Tufts University and Northwestern University.

“We refer to this type of technology as transient electronics,” said John A. Rogers, the Lee J. Flory-Founder Professor of Engineering at the U. of I., who led the multidisciplinary research team.

Three application areas for this biodegradable technology appear particularly promising:

  • Medical implants that perform important diagnostic or therapeutic functions for a useful amount of time and then simply dissolve and resorb in the body, such as intravascular stents, porous bodies for drug delivery, and sutures.
  • Environmental monitors, such as wireless sensors that are dispersed after a chemical spill, that degrade over time to eliminate any ecological impact.
  • Consumer electronic systems or sub-components that are compostable, to reduce electronic waste streams generated by devices that are frequently upgraded, such as cellphones or other portable devices.

Read more:Biodegradable electronics that vanish in the body | KurzweilAI

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