Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have come up with a new solution to mitigate the problem of e-waste.
"We found that cellulose nanofibrillated fiber based transistors exhibit superior performance as that of conventional silicon-based transistors," said Zhenqiang Ma, the team leader. "And the bio-based transistors are so safe that you can put them in the forest, and fungus will quickly degrade them. They become as safe as fertiliser."
Electronics are created using non-renewable, non-biodegradable materials expensive and rigid substrates like silicon wafers, which are highly purified, but cellulose nanofibrillated fiber films have the potential to replace silicon wafers as electronic substrates in environmentally friendly, low cost, portable gadgets or devices of the future.
To create devices, Ma's team employed silicon nanomembranes as the active material in the transistor - pieces of ultra-thin films (thinner than a human hair) peeled from the bulk crystal and then transferred and glued onto the cellulose substrate to create a flexible, biodegradable and transparent silicon transistor.
But to make portable electronics, the biodegradable transistor needed to be able to operate at microwave frequencies, which is the working range of most wireless devices. The researchers thus conducted a series of experiments such as measuring the current voltage characteristics to study the device's functional performance, which finally showed the biodegradable transistor has superior microwave-frequency operation capabilities comparable to existing semiconductor transistors.
This is definitely a different perspective to green tech!