Portable electronics — typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable and potentially toxic materials — are discarded at an alarming rate in consumers’ pursuit of the next best electronic gadget.
In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.
The research team, led by UW-Madison electrical and computer engineering professor Zhenqiang “Jack” Ma, described the new device in a paper published today (May 26, 2015) by the journal Nature Communications. The paper demonstrates the feasibility of replacing the substrate, or support layer, of a computer chip, with cellulose nanofibril (CNF), a flexible, biodegradable material made from wood.
“The majority of material in a chip is support. We only use less than a couple of micrometers for everything else,” Ma says. “Now the chips are so safe you can put them in the forest and fungus will degrade it. They become as safe as fertilizer.”
Zhiyong Cai, project leader for an engineering composite science research group at FPL, has been developing sustainable nanomaterials since 2009.
“If you take a big tree and cut it down to the individual fiber, the most common product is paper. The dimension of the fiber is in the micron stage,” Cai says. “But what if we could break it down further to the nano scale? At that scale you can make this material, very strong and transparent CNF paper.”
“Now the chips are so safe you can put them in the forest and fungus will degrade it. They become as safe as fertilizer.”
Working with Shaoqin “Sarah” Gong, a UW-Madison professor of biomedical engineering, Cai’s group addressed two key barriers to using wood-derived materials in an electronics setting: surface smoothness and thermal expansion.
“You don’t want it to expand or shrink too much. Wood is a natural hydroscopic material and could attract moisture from the air and expand,” Cai says. “With an epoxy coating on the surface of the CNF, we solved both the surface smoothness and the moisture barrier.”
Gong and her students also have been studying bio-based polymers for more than a decade. CNF offers many benefits over current chip substrates, she says.
The Latest on: Biodegradable computer chips
via Google News
The Latest on: Biodegradable computer chips
- Exploration industry has tight deadline to comment on controversial draft regulationson April 9, 2021 at 7:50 am
Percussion chips, which are biodegradable, probably weight 25 kg per metre of ... “We need a system where you can go into your computer, as you can do in Mozambique and most other African countries, ...
- Tech Digest daily round up: Google wins legal battle with Oracleon April 6, 2021 at 5:13 am
Oracle, another tech titan, had sued Google in 2010 for copyright infringement over what it said was copied computer code ... on an alternative to polluting plastic have discovered a biodegradable ...
- Earth Smiles at Electronics Made from Wood and Silkon April 4, 2021 at 5:01 pm
Replacing an entire smartphone with fully biodegradable or renewal parts is a very tall ... researchers have already developed a working “wooden” computer chip. Image Source: MakerBot - Thingiverse ...
- Danimer Scientific, a Next Generation Bioplastics Company, Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Resultson March 29, 2021 at 1:08 pm
Market demand remains robust for Danimer’s signature polymer, Nodax™ PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), a 100% biodegradable, renewable, and sustainable plastic produced using canola oil as a primary ...
- Researchers Use Engineered DNA to Develop Programmable Glueon March 25, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Because the researchers envisioned medical applications, they developed bricks made of biocompatible and biodegradable hydrogels containing ... reconfigurable computer chips, or lenses. Yin and Ali ...
- EXECUTIVE CHANGES: Ten Entertainment, Emmerson chairs step downon March 25, 2021 at 9:06 am
Brown was among the founders of computer chip designer ARM Holdings PLC and ... Biome Technologies PLC - Southampton, Hampshire-based biodegradable plastics and radio frequency systems - Hires ...
- David Wentzlaffon August 13, 2020 at 6:29 pm
Before Tilera, he was one of the architects of the Raw Processor at MIT and designed the Raw on-chip networks ... of computing on the environment by optimizing computer architecture for fully ...
- Expect rapid, pervasive innovation in 21st centuryon October 26, 2017 at 6:19 am
Another near-term innovation will be the proliferation of tiny, wireless electronic sensors the size of computer chips that will improve safety ... wastes to make a wide range of products, from ...
- This “Person-On-a-Chip” Could Be the Future of Organ Replacementon March 8, 2016 at 10:11 am
To create the scaffold, the team used a polymer called POMaC, that is biodegradable and biocompatible. It is created out of a series of thin layers that resemble computer microchips, following a ...
- Computer Chips Made of Wood Could Help Curb Electronic Wasteon July 16, 2015 at 10:23 am
Derived from wood, their new computer chip is made mostly from nanocellulose and is biodegradable. Conventional chips of today use large amounts of semiconductors such as silicon as a backbone to ...
via Bing News