Biodegradable Electronics


As e-waste generation continues to rise and recycling of this waste stream struggles to keep up, new alternatives to device structures are needed. Additionally, with the increase in flexible electronics we will see these technologies further contribute to the issue. New avenues utilising biodegradable polymers are being investigated to replace commonly encountered substrates such polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyimide (PI). This project focuses on the use of nature derived insulating biopolymers as substrate together with biodegradable semiconducting polymers as an active layer to fabricate biodegradable electronic devices.

Research project

In this project, we are focusing on the development of various materials and thin film technologies for the biodegradable electronic devices including organic transistors, display devices. We received biodegradable polymer from seafood waste streams (Rock Lobster, Red Claw Shrimp, and Squid) through Sunshine based company. Films prepared from these sources were characterised to best understand their properties for fabricating an electrode to use in electronics. Silver nanowires were deposited on the substrates and combined with biopolymer to form a composite electrode and attempted to fabricate display devices. Conducting thin film was deposited on the biodegradable substrates and used for the transistor devices.


This work highlighted biopolymer’s ability to be used as an electrode with performances as low as 5 ohms and a transparency of 60% being achieved. Such conducting biodegradable thin films can be used for display devices.  These thin films have been also demonstrated performance for use in organic electrochemical transistor applications  in collaboration with NTU, Singapoire using PEDOT:Tos as active channel material. The PEDOT:Tos was effectively deposited on the biodegradable polymer surface in collaboration with University of South Australia.

Additionally, a collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras was established and advanced processing techniques were successfully demonstrated, and biodegradable films investigated for photolithography.

Study level

  • Vacation Research Experience Scheme
  • Capstone (CVB304)
  • Honours
  • Master of Philosophy
  • PhD

  • Joshua McDonald (MPhil Student)
  • Amandeep Singh Pannu (Former Research Fellow)
  • Vithya Sahar Sethu Madhavan (Research Fellow)