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Showing posts tagged 'wood chips'


09 July 2015

A different kind of woodchip

University of Madison-Wisconsin have published a paper proposing the use of wood to create semiconductors.

 

 

 

A cellulose nanofibril (CNF) computer chip rests on a leaf.
Credit: Yei Hwan Jung, Wisconsin Nano Engineering Device Laboratory
 

 

We all want to have the latest technology and must have new products and upgrades are released constantly. Most electronic products whether they be phones, laptops, tablets or even shavers and washing machines are made from non-renewable and non-biodegradable materials. The rate at which we consume new products is ever growing and clearly isn’t good for the environment in the long run.

A solution may come from a surprising place - trees, specifically a material called cellulose nanofibril (CNF) which is made from wood. Wood, when scaled to microfibers, is used to make paper, but if scaled to nano size, CNF becomes very strong and transparent – ideal for creating semiconductors with. The Wisconsin team have been developing sustainable nanomaterials for the past 6 years, but there have been numerous challenges when trying to create electronics from wood. The biggest issues are creating surface smoothness and stopping thermal expansion.

Luckily both these problems were fixed using just one product - the team coated the chips with an epoxy coating which is water resistant, acid resistant and solvent resistant. This creates a smooth surface on all sides of the chip and creates a moisture barrier to alleviate any expansion which may occur. Most impressive is the fact that these chips would be fully biodegradable – they can be put back in the forest and will decompose naturally.

Yei Hwan Jung, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering and a co-author of the paper has worked extensively with the CNF chips:

"I've made 1,500 gallium arsenide transistors in a 5-by-6 millimeter chip. Typically for a microwave chip that size, there are only eight to 40 transistors. The rest of the area is just wasted," he says. "We take our design and put it on CNF using deterministic assembly technique, then we can put it wherever we want and make a completely functional circuit with performance comparable to existing chips.”

If these wooden chips become commonplace we can continue our reliance on technology and gadgets and look after the planet too. What a great combination! As long as the performance can be matched and the prices kept low, CNF fibres could realistically be used to create semiconductors in the very near future.

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Source: Science Daily

Tags: semiconductors wood chips university of madison-wisconsin


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