Self-dissolving electronics could make gadgets destructible on command
You lose your phone and then wonder if would destroy itself completely as there is some confidential data in it that can reveal your greatest secrets. Well for your phone or any other gadget to self-destruct it needs to dissolve at the very basic circuitry level and that is some technological advancement to achieve given the current situation. However Reza Montazami, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering is developing a technology that he calls transient materials which comprises of hardware made from special polymers that are capable of dissolving when the trigger is activated.
Reza in his quest for degradable circuitry components has made and tested a degradable antenna capable of transmitting data and the research results were shown in a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas. The research paper clearly explained that the decay rate could be controlled and now the next step in progress is the development of microchips or circuit board elements with such transient properties.
Reza and his team have made programmable biodegradable and transitory insulating polymer films that react to addition of gelatin and sucrose for control of the degradation. Add gelatin and the dissolution was slowed down and on the other hand adding sucrose speeded up the whole process.
This research is still in its infancy stage and we can expect a couple of years before any kind of dissolving electronics can be used in gadgets or any other relevant application.
The video below shows a blue light emitting diode on top of a polymer base with electrical leads. As soon as it comes in contact with drop of water, the polymer dissolves and turn the light off.