Sunday, December 4, 2022

Mushroom Skin Replaces Plastic As Chip Base

By Jay Soni

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Researchers use Ganoderma lucidum mushroom skin to replace semiconductor chip substrate base as it is biodegradable in nature.

Fungal-grown mycelium skins are introduced as bioderived, degadable and sustainable substrate materials for elektronic sensor skins and batteries. Our findings can help to reduce electronic waste and render the electronics industry more environmentally friendly. Credit: Soft Matter Physics Division, Johannes Kepler University Linz. Images taken by Doris Danninger

With increasing use of technology the mark of electronic waste is also increasing towards the red zone. Most electronic devices are made on plastic bases which cannot be recycled. Scientists are working on developing a way that could reduce the effects of these electronic devices. Recent advances in material science have introduced biodegradable alternatives to computer chips.

A team of researchers at Johannes Kepler University has found that the skin of a certain kind of mushroom can be used as a biodegradable base for computer chips. After searching for an accountable alternative researchers came across Ganoderma lucidum, a type of mushroom that grows on dead hardwood trees. They noted that it grows a skin to cover its mycelium—its root-like part.

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After collecting several samples of mushroom skins, researchers recorded them to be flexible, and they provided good insulation and were able to withstand high temperatures. They noted that if it was kept away from light and moisture, the skin would last a long time. These properties of the mushroom skin can make it a very good chip substrate.

The team developed a means for depositing metal electronic circuitry components onto the skin using physical vapor deposition, which was followed up with an ablated laser. Results showed that the skin worked nearly as well as the traditional plastic substrates and that it could withstand being bent repeatedly—they found no breakage after 2,000 bends.

They also found that the skin could also be used to make battery components. More work is required to ensure that the skin works as hoped in an industrial setting. Researchers plan to find a clean process for removing the skin from the chips for disposal.


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