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    • CommentAuthorYumy
    • CommentTimeSep 4th 2017
    Chinese and U.S. researchers from the Department of Agriculture and University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison has developed a semiconductor chip that is made almost entirely out of wood-derived material.
    Biodegradable chips. Image source: Yei Hwan Jung-Wisconsin Nano Engineering Device Laboratory Biodegradable chips. Image source: Yei Hwan Jung-Wisconsin Nano Engineering Device LaboratoryThe chips are biodegradable and can be produced for a fraction of the cost of conventional semiconductors, researchers say. They used a cellulose material for the substrate of the chip, which is the part that supports the active semiconductor layer. That cellulose nanofibril (CNF) is a flexible and transparent material used to make paper.

    "If commercializing the wooden chips, tremendous material cost will be saved," says Zhenqiang Ma, UW-Madison electrical and computer engineering professor. He says the research team reduced the use of semiconductor material by 99.9%.
    The researchers say that the CNF is better than alternative chip designs that use natural materials like paper and silk. They coated the CNF with epoxy to smooth its surface and prevent it from expanding with heat. With that, they also created ways to fabricate gallium arsenide-based microwave devices, commonly used in mobile devices, on the CNF substrate.

    The CNF chip features "high-performance electronics that are comparable to existing state-of-the-art electronics," as published in Nature Communications.

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