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Aug 9, 2022

Transient microelectromechanical systems that can self-dissolve over time

Posted by in categories: futurism, materials

Typically, the key goal of electronics engineers is to develop components and devices that are durable and can operate for long periods of time without being damaged. Such devices require resistant materials, which ultimately contribute to the accumulation of electronic waste on our planet.

Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois have been conducting research focusing on an entirely different type of electromechanical system (MEMS): those based on so-called “transient materials.” Transient materials are materials that can dissolve, resorb, disintegrate or physically disappear in other ways at programmed and specific times.

Their most recent paper, published in Nature Electronics, introduces new MEMS based on fully water-soluble materials that could dissolve in their surrounding environment after set periods of time. In the future, these materials could help to decrease the amount of electronic waste, enabling the development of some electronic devices that spontaneously disappear when they are no longer needed.

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