New Achievement for E-World: Biodegradable Wood Chip

By CIOReview | Monday, July 20, 2015
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FREMONT, CA: When US alone generate million tons of outdated e-waste a year, imagine the alarming amount of e-waste disposed as whole across the globe! Addressing this growing concerns for e-waste, researchers at the University of Wisconsin, led by Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma, a professor of electrical and computer engineering recently developed a biodegradable computer chip made from wood.

The transparent, UW-Madison chips are made of a translucent material known as Cellulose NanoFibrils (CNF) which is developed by adding water to cellulose-containing materials and then using high-pressure homogenizers, grinders or microfluidizers to rip the wood fibers into much smaller cellulose nanofibers. This process leaves behind long, interconnected nanofibers after being freeze-dried to remove the water.

“Though ready for commercialization, it’s likely to take heightened environmental pressure or a spike in the price of rare semiconductor materials like gallium, for the mainstream electronics industry to change its current practices and consider making chips from wood,” says Ma. Performing comparably well to commonly used components in smartphones and tablets, nanocellulose act as a support layer for radio frequency circuits which can also be broken down by a common fungus.

John Rogers, a professor of materials science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign states that the military has already taken major interest in ‘transient electronics’ that would degrade in some way to prevent sensitive electronics from falling into the hands of adversaries.

The research team claims that the chip is a viable support material for a variety of electronic devices, including solar cells and the recent two demonstrations were showcased to reveal and assure the unique properties combined to deliver efficient- high-performing radio frequency circuits.