About this Research Topic
Worldwide annual generation of e-waste is likely to exceed 50 million tons by 2020. Up to 80% of this e-waste ends up in landfills. Unfortunately, e-waste releases toxic elements into the environment, which can significantly increase the risk of severe negative health impacts to humans, wildlife, and our planet. The development of electronic materials that can degrade into benign byproducts are of significant interest to reduce the negative health and environmental impacts of non-recycled e-waste. In recognizing the need to reduce e-waste, UN agencies put forward a global call to overhaul the current electronics system. In line with these efforts, it is necessary to consider the full life-cycle of emerging flexible electronic devices as well. Here, the evaluation of flexible electronics as a function of device design, stability during use, storage, and end-of-life, can aid in the discovery of transient materials and devices that will play a significant role in the advancement of next generation, sustainable flexible electronic innovations.
Developing flexible electronic devices with programmable life-cycles are of significant interest beyond e-waste reduction, from the need to eliminate sensitive electronic information after use, to the need for reducing risks associated with implant removal, and to recover stand-alone field devices that may be difficult to retrieve after deployment. Medically, the use of electronic implants and smart devices can significantly enhance the health quality and life-span of humans. However, when the devices are no longer needed a second surgery may be required to remove it, which comes with an increased risk of infection and mortality. Field devices such as electronic tracking tags for research, sensors for deep-sea applications, and flexible electronics for space exploration, may be difficult to recover, which further contributes to environmental and interplanetary pollution.
This research topic aims to highlight recent advancements in transient flexible electronic materials. We also anticipate multidisciplinary submissions that incorporate transient flexible electronic materials for medical, space, industry, or consumer applications, from research fields such as chemistry, biology, medicine, physics, photonics, electronics, and engineering.
Topics of interest include but are not limited to:
• New flexible electronic materials that are bioresorbable, biodegradable, or compostable.
• Quantitative evaluation of the degradation products that persist from transient flexible electronics, including semiconductor and insulator materials.
• Bio- and environmental-compatibility and respective impact studies that involve transient flexible electronic materials and their decomposition.
• Use of transient flexible electronic materials in implants, sensors, actuators, optoelectronics, RF, antenna, energy harvesting, energy storage, and flexible displays.
Keywords: Transient flexible electronics, health monitoring, e-waste, life-cycle, bioresorbable, biodegradable, sustainable, sensors, implants
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.