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Degradable devices vanish after use

Technique combines silicon, magnesium and silk for medical implants, transistors and digital cameras that can melt away

By
2:05pm, September 27, 2012

Imagine your old phone dissolving away after you’ve traded up, or a pacemaker that’s absorbed by the body when it’s no longer needed. Such gadgetry may not be far off: Scientists have developed a technique for making electronic devices that disappear without a trace. Constructed of silicon, magnesium and silk, the transient electronics can be tuned to last for days, weeks or even a year — and then disappear.

Scientists used the approach to make a bacteria-fighting medical implant that melts away after a few weeks, and a simple 64-pixel sensor array like those found in digital cameras, which was designed to last for about a day. The researche

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