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Fish Scales Might Be Used to Build Biodegradable, Flexible Displays

The last 18th of march scientists from the Insititute of Advanced Materials (IAM), Nanjing Tech University, and many others have worked together to create an eco-friendly, sustainable and cost-efficient  Alternating Current Electroluminescent (ACEL) device made from fish scales. They discover that using plastic substrates from fish scales in Alternating Current Electroluminescent devices makes them undegradable and environmental pollutants.

Alternating Current Electroluminescent (ACEL)  devices have been developed and widely used around the world in the past few decades. Because of their numerous applications, industries use it in optical signaling, flat panel displays, logo display lighting, etc. Manufacturers also use transparent plastics in ACEL devices.

If such is viable it could in return enable us to see biodegradable electronic displays or touchscreens in the future that might as well be bendable. This could mean a breakthrough not only in the sustainability of technology but also could allow product designers to introduce new form factors for wearable gadgets.

The experiment

The Group of scientists used fish scales to create a transparent fish gelatin (FG) film. This film could dissolve in water within seconds at 60 °C and degrade completely in soil within 24 days. The transmittance in the visible spectrum of these films was up to 91.1%. This transmittance was as good as the Alternating Current Electroluminescent devices created from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET has a transmittance in the visible spectrum of  90.4%.

schematic diagram of ACL
A schematic diagram that shows the preparation of (a) the FG film and (b) the ACEL device. (Image adapted from ACS Nano –  American Chemical Society)

The Scientists combined silver nanowires (Ag NWs) with the Fish Gelatin Films and formed a composite film (Ag NWs-FG). This union showed a transmittance of up to 82.3% and a sheet resistance down to 22.4 ohm/sq^(-1).

A promising eco-friendly chance for the future

This Alternating Current Electroluminescent device made with the Ag NWs-FG film also demonstrated a luminance up to 56.0 cd m–2, high flexibility, and could be dissolved in water within 3 min.

This achievement proves that FG films are a promising alternative for nowadays ACEL devices made from PET. Also, they are a green and a degradable potential alternative to direct current (DC)‐driven organic light‐emitting diodes (OLEDs) or quantum dots based light-emitting diodes (QLEDS). These diodes have the great advantage of easy integration into the AC power system without complicated back‐end electronics. All things considered, this development will bring an eco-friendly solution in the field of flexible electronics.

Photo credit: All images sourced from the publication and experiment footage. The material is owned by the American Chemical Society and used with permission.
Source: Sustainable and Transparent Fish Gelatin Films for Flexible Electroluminescent Devices (ACS Publications)