PhD researcher Ankur Sharma, lead senior researcher Associate Professor Larry Lu and their colleagues invented a semiconductor that is biodegradable, bendable and organic. The semiconductor is the computer chip of the phone that does the computing.
The organic component, pentacene, is from carbon and hydrogen and is one atom thick, the inorganic component, Molybdenum di-sulfide, is about two atoms thick. The semiconductor cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Mr Sharma’s hopes his invention will help the environment and reduce the world’s electronic waste problem.
Mr Sharma said
“Right now in your mobile phone you have a silicon chip. We make about a billion of these devices. We don’t know what to do with the old devices because every year a new phone is coming out. We need to keep up to date with the latest technology without the guilt of harming the environment at the cost of technology.”
Mr Sharma’s invention opens the way to making bendable phones using the same organic material for both the screen and the processor.
Super-thin semiconductor material are created through a process called chemical vapour deposition. The semiconductors are then attached onto a computer chip.
The semiconductor could be recycled multiple times and could reduce a lot of the world’s plastic and electronic waste.
- Pentacene is a chemical and more precisely an aromatic hydrocarbon. When we talk about aromatics, we could fast forward to bio-aromatics. Who knows, we may be able to manufacture computers and semiconductors using biobased materials and bio-aromatics in the future.
- Bendable, biodegradable computer: ANU engineers fight e-waste, Canberra Times, Finbar O’Mallon