Biodegradable display breakthrough could start a green revolution

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed biodegradable displays based on natural materials, with no electronic scrap after use.

The displays can be composted, with the display functioning based on the ‘electrochromic effect’ of the initial organic material. Light absorption is modified when voltage is applied, with the material changing colour.

Electrochromic displays have a low energy consumption and feature simple component architecture and are able to be produced by inkjet printing. The displays are sealed with gelatine to make the display adhesive and flexible, able to be worn directly on the skin.

The display is best suited for short-lifecycle applications in areas such as medical diagnostics, where sensors and indicators have to be cleaned or disposed of after use.

Digital printing production also allows the displays to be adapted to individuals or complex shapes without expensive modification of the process.

Gerardo Hernandez-Sosa, head of LTI’s Printed Electronics Group, Heidelberg Innovation Lab, commented: “As far as we know, this is the first demonstration of a biodegradable display produced by inkjet printing. It will pave the way to sustainable innovations for other electronic components and to the production of eco-friendlier electronics.”

 

Photo credit: Manuel Pietsch, KIT

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