Reza Montazami, assistant professor of mechanical engineering Iowa State University, calls the technology "transient materials" or "transient electronics." He says it could be used to create medical devices that disappear inside the body and are disposed of once they've done their jobs. Or the materials could be used by the military to send and receive top secret information.
No such prototypes are yet in existence, but Montazami says his team's research shows that such a development isn't that far off. His team has already built a degradable polymer composite material that could host small electronic components. They also created a degradable antenna able to transmit data.
"You don’t expect your cell phone to dissolve someday, right?" said Montazami. "The resistors, capacitors and electronics, you don’t expect everything to dissolve in such a manner that there’s no trace of it."
Montazami and his team think such expectations will eventually change.
“Investigation of electronic devices based on transient materials (transient electronics) is a new and rarely addressed technology with paramount potentials in both medical and military applications,” Montazami and his fello researchers wrote in the paper, which was published this week in the online journal Advanced Functional Materials.
Montazami thinks that in the future, if you lose your credit card, you may be able to just make it self-destruct with the press of a button.
[Iowa State University]