US researchers have developed electronic devices that can self-destruct when heated. The devices have been developed by a researcher team, led by aerospace engineering professor Scott R. White. Scott White is an aerospace engineering professor at the University of Illinois in the US. The research was published in the recent issue of the journal Advanced Materials. Currently, most used devices end up in landfills and contribute to environmental pollution. This is a way of creating sustainability in the materials that are used in modern-day electronics. Also Read - Education, Marriage or Crisis: What Do Indians Save Money For?

This was first attempt to use an environmental stimulus to trigger destruction. “We have demonstrated electronics that are there when you need them and gone when you do not need them anymore,” said lead researcher Scott White. The researchers said they can control how fast the device degrades by tuning the thickness of the wax, the concentration of the acid, and the temperature. This work demonstrates the extent to which clever chemistries can qualitatively expand the breadth of mechanisms in transience, and therefore the range of potential applications Also Read - UPSC Recruitment 2021: Applications Invited for Various Posts, Here's How You Can Apply

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  • Electronic devices have been developed that can self-destruct when heated
  • This can degrade in steps by encasing different parts in waxes with different melting temperatures
  • This is an example of creating sustainability in the materials
  • Researchers embedded a radio-frequency receiver and an inductive heating coil in the device

How it works

The heat-triggered devices use magnesium circuits printed on very thin, flexible materials. The researchers trap microscopic droplets of a weak acid in wax, and coat the devices with the wax. When the devices are heated, the wax melts, releasing the acid. The acid dissolves the device quickly and completely. To remotely trigger the reaction, researchers embedded a radio-frequency receiver and an inductive heating coil in the device. The user can send a signal to cause the coil to heat up, which melts the wax and dissolves the device. The devices also can degrade in steps by encasing different parts in waxes with different melting temperatures. This gives more precise control over which parts of a device are operative, creating possibilities for sophisticated devices that can sense something in the environment and respond to it.

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