Tiny electronic sensors and devices that can be implanted in the body and then dissolve almost without a trace are getting closer to reality.
Scientists have tested several biodegradable materials, including DNA, proteins and metals, for making transient electronics. Now one team, reporting in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, has taken another step toward this goal. They created a dissolvable device component out of egg proteins, magnesium and tungsten.
Transient electronics have many potential applications from localized drug delivery to pollution monitoring. To explore these possibilities, scientists have been working with an array of natural materials to test how well they perform in electronic devices and whether they might cause side effects or damage when implanted. Unlike conventional electronics that contribute to a growing amount of harmful waste, dissolvable devices are designed to be compatible with the environment.