Washington: Scientists have been working on electronic devices that dissolve completely in water, leaving behind only harmless end products.
Led by John A. Rogers from the University of Illinois, early results of the study demonstrated the entire complement of building blocks for integrated circuits, along with various sensors and actuators with relevance to clinical medicine, including most recently intracranial monitors for patients with traumatic brain injury. The advances suggested a new era of devices that range from green consumer electronics to 'electroceutical' therapies, to biomedical sensor systems that do their work and then disappear.
Practical applications might include: bioresorbable devices that reduce infection at a surgical site. Other examples are temporary implantable systems, such as electrical brain monitors to aid rehabilitation from traumatic injuries or electrical simulators to accelerate bone growth. Additional classes of devices can even be used for programmed drug delivery, Rogers said.
Such envisioned uses were all best satisfied by devices that provide robust, reliable, high performance operation, but only for a finite period of time dictated, for example, by the healing process-they were not only biologically compatible, but they were biologically punctual, performing when and as the body needed them.
After their function had been fulfilled, they disappeared through resorption into the body, thereby eliminating unnecessary device load, without the need for additional surgical operations. In terms of consumer electronics, the technology holds promise for reducing the environmental footprint of the next generation of "green" devices.
Rogers would be presenting the results at the AVS 61st International Symposium and Exhibition in November 2014.