Biodegradable Elastomers and Silicon Nanomembranes/Nanoribbons for Stretchable, Transient Electronics, and Biosensors

Transient electronics represents an emerging class of technology that exploits materials and/or device constructs that are capable of physically disappearing or disintegrating in a controlled manner at programmed rates or times. Inorganic semiconductor nanomaterials such as silicon nanomembranes/nanoribbons provide attractive choices for active elements in transistors, diodes and other essential components of overall systems that dissolve completely by hydrolysis in biofluids or groundwater. We describe here materials, mechanics, and design layouts to achieve this type of technology in stretchable configurations with biodegradable elastomers for substrate/encapsulation layers. Experimental and theoretical results illuminate the mechanical properties under large strain deformation. Circuit characterization of complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor inverters and individual transistors under various levels of applied loads validates the design strategies. Examples of biosensors demonstrate possibilities for stretchable, transient devices in biomedical applications.