|Mar 18, 2020|
Fish scales could make wearable electronics more sustainable(Nanowerk News) Flexible temporary electronic displays may one day make it possible to sport a glowing tattoo or check a reading, like that of a stopwatch, directly on the skin. In its current form, however, this technology generally depends on plastic.
|New research in ACS Nano ("Sustainable and Transparent Fish Gelatin Films for Flexible Electroluminescent Devices") describes a way to make these displays, which would likely be discarded after a single use, more environmentally friendly using a plentiful and biodegradable resource: fish scales.|
|This film derived from fish scales could someday be used in flexible electronic devices. (© ACS)|
|Within such displays, electricity-conducting and light-emitting components are layered onto a transparent film. To make them flexible enough to withstand the bending required to stay on skin or other soft surfaces, researchers have so far relied on films made of plastic — a substance derived from fossil fuels, a limited resource and a source of pollution.|
|Hai-Dong Yu, Juqing Liu, Wei Huang and colleagues wanted to find a more sustainable and environmentally friendly material for the film. They settled on gelatin derived from collagen in fish scales, which are usually thrown away.|
|After preparing a gelatin solution from the fish scales, they poured it into a petri dish that acted as a mold for the film as it dried. In tests, they found the film had the attributes, including flexibility and transparency, needed for use in wearable devices.|
|The film also appeared unlikely to linger in landfills: It dissolved within seconds in hot water and could then be recycled into a new film. When buried in soil, it degraded within 24 days. The team used the film to build a working alternating current electroluminescent device that continued to glow even after being bent and relaxed 1,000 times.|
|Films derived from fish scales are a promising alternative for more sustainable flexible electronics, including wearables and folding displays, the researchers conclude.|
|Source: American Chemical Society|
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