Self-destructing electronic devices could keep military secrets out of enemy hands. Or they could save patients the pain of removing a medical device. Or, they could allow environmental sensors to wash away in the rain.
Making such devices possible is the goal of a relatively new field of study called “transient electronics.” These transient devices could perform a variety of functions – until exposure to light, heat or liquid triggers their destruction.
Reza Montazami, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, has been working on transient technology for years. The latest development from his lab is a self-destructing, lithium-ion battery capable of delivering 2.5 volts and dissolving or dissipating in 30 minutes when dropped in water. The battery can power a desktop calculator for about 15 minutes.
Montazami said it’s the first transient battery to demonstrate the power, stability and shelf life for practical use.
Montazami and his team recently published their discovery in the Journal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics.