The electronics of the future are flexible, pliable and can be printed. What’s more they are biologically degradable. At least if Assistant Professor Shweta Agarwala, a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Aarhus University has anything to do with it.
"There are so many possibilities in this technology, and within so many different areas. Printed electronics has huge potential for initiating a total green transition of the entire way we produce and use electronics today. It’s a very exciting field of research, and I’m honoured to be able to pass on my knowledge to my engineering students at Aarhus University," she says.
Printed electronics is basically about using functional inks to print electronic circuits on all kinds of surfaces, for example textiles, paper, biological materials or plastics. The technology is currently undergoing rapid development, especially because researchers like Shweta are developing functional inks that can be broken down naturally.
Biologically degradable electronics open for a wealth of opportunities within the healthcare sector, for example, where printed electronics could push the boundaries of human-body sensor technology.
Imagine a bracelet that tells you whether you have vitamin D deficiency, or implantable sensors that can perform extremely accurate measurements inside your body and then dissolve into harmless residues.
The technology could also be a response to one of the world's largest pollution issues, electronic waste, or e-waste, which is considered the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. This type of waste is more or less neither reused nor degraded, but instead it accumulates in landfills in third-world countries with consequential major environmental problems.
"It's high time we started finding technological solutions to some of these huge issues," says Shweta Agarwala.
Shweta was born and raised in India, and she holds a Master's degree in microelectronics from the prestigious Nanyang Technological University. She defended her PhD at the National University of Singapore in 2012. She researched printed electronics at Nanyang Technological University until she came to Aarhus University in 2019.
Read more about her research here: