Stretchable and Fully Degradable Semiconductors for Transient Electronics

ACS Cent Sci. 2019 Nov 27;5(11):1884-1891. doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.9b00850. Epub 2019 Nov 13.


The next materials challenge in organic stretchable electronics is the development of a fully degradable semiconductor that maintains stable electrical performance under strain. Herein, we decouple the design of stretchability and transience by harmonizing polymer physics principles and molecular design in order to demonstrate for the first time a material that simultaneously possesses three disparate attributes: semiconductivity, intrinsic stretchability, and full degradability. We show that we can design acid-labile semiconducting polymers to appropriately phase segregate within a biodegradable elastomer, yielding semiconducting nanofibers that concurrently enable controlled transience and strain-independent transistor mobilities. Along with the future development of suitable conductors and device integration advances, we anticipate that these materials could be used to build fully biodegradable diagnostic or therapeutic devices that reside inside the body temporarily, or environmental monitors that are placed in the field and break down when they are no longer needed. This fully degradable semiconductor represents a promising advance toward developing multifunctional materials for skin-inspired electronic devices that can address previously inaccessible challenges and in turn create new technologies.