Biodegradable displays to be used towards the goal of sustainable electronics

Increasing use of electronic devices in consumables and new technologies for the internet of things are increasing the amount of electronic scrap. To save resources and minimize waste volumes, an eco-friendlier production and more sustainable lifecycle will be needed. Scientists have now produced displays, whose biodegradability has been checked and certified by an independent organization.


Low Energy Consumption, Simple Component Architecture


The functioning of the display is based on the so-called electrochromic effect of the initial organic material. When voltage is applied, light absorption is modified and the material changes its colour. Electrochromic displays have low energy consumption and simple component architecture compared to commercially available displays, such as LED, LCD, and E-paper. Another advantage is that these displays can be produced by inkjet printing in a customized, inexpensive, and material-efficient way. Moreover, this process is suited for scaling with high throughput. The materials used mainly are of natural origin or biocompatible. Sealing with gelatine makes the display adhesive and flexible, such that it can be worn directly on the skin.


Use in Medical Diagnostics and Food Packagings


The display is generally suited for short-lifecycle applications in various sectors. In medical diagnostics, for instance, where hygiene plays an important role, sensors and their indicators have to be cleaned or disposed of after use. The newly developed display will not be dumped as electronic scrap but is compostable. It can also be used for quality monitoring in food packagings, where reuse is not permitted. Digital printing allows the displays to be adapted to persons or complex shapes without any expensive modification of the process. This reduces the consumption of resources.


Source: Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

 

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