This microchip is made out of wood

Some very clever researchers in the US have come up with a way to make microchips much more environmentally friendly than those of today by replacing most of their non-biodegradable materials with one made primarily of wood.

The majority of the materials used in microchip construction today make up what’s known as the “support” layer, or substrate, the part of the chip that everything is affixed to. These have, up to now, consisted of non-biodegradable materials.

Gizmodo writes that the research team from the University of Wisconsin, Madison worked with the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Products Laboratory to replace the traditional microchip support layer with a new substance they developed called cellulose nanofibril, dubbed CNF.

To ensure the new material’s ability to resist expanding and shrinking based on how much moisture is in the air, the team covered the CNF film they used in their microchips with an epoxy coating, which protects it against moisture and makes it smoother and thus easier to work with.


Not only is the new microchip more friendly to the environment thanks to its ability to biodegrade when left exposed to the elements, but Gizmodo says it’s cheaper than traditional materials currently used in electronics manufacturing too.

And this isn’t pie in the sky wishful thinking, either – the team’s paper on their breakthrough was published in Nature Communications, a respected peer-reviewed open access scientific journal so you know it’s legit.

If this catches on – and it really needs to – the future could contain far fewer landfills filled with toxic electronics leaking their chemicals into the ground, and that’s a vision I can get behind.

C’mon, chipmakers, buy this tech already and shoehorn it into future designs!

[Source – Gizmodo, Image – University of Wisconsin]

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