In Singapore, a literature review by researchers at the Nayang Technological University has determined that flexible electronics are steadily advancing toward reality thanks to recent breakthroughs in manipulating nanocellulose.
NTU researchers, for example, have made “nanopaper” using nanocellulose and silver nanowires that conducted electricity after being folded 500 times. And, unlike plastic and other materials used in producing electronics today, the nanopaper biodegrade within a month after the metal electrodes are removed.
“With widespread and intensive efforts, low-cost and light-weight ‘green’ electronics fabricated on transparent nano paper substrate will provide new technologies impacting our daily life,” the authors state in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.
Challenges remain, however. Nanopaper is still more expensive to produce than glass and plastic, and fabrication costs need to be reduced significantly. The operational life of the cellulose also needs to be increased.