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Biotech Technology

Researchers Turn To Silk For Flexible E-Devices 35

Posted by timothy
from the driving-up-lingerie-prices-worldwide dept.
angry tapir writes "Researchers at a Taiwan university say they have found a way to use silk membranes in flexible electronic devices and started talks with manufacturers about adopting the unusual but cheap material. After less than two years of study motivated by news that silk had untapped properties, an engineering professor and two post-graduate students at Taiwan's National Tsing Hua University figured out how to use the soft, low-cost material for flexible e-book readers, LED displays and radio-frequency identification tools."
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Researchers Turn To Silk For Flexible E-Devices

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  • Can't wait (Score:5, Funny)

    by Datamonstar (845886) on Friday March 04, 2011 @05:19AM (#35377776)
    I can see it now: my wife comes home from shopping, telling me "Hi, Honey, I just got something made of silk and I'm about to the bedroom and get into it. I bull rush in there and find her on the bed reading some trashy novel. Meh!
  • I hope this will allow us to integrate electronics into the clothes in a better way. It's also in accordance with the FOTM sustainable development since it's all natural and probably bio-degradable. Hope they get a lot of $$$ to continue their research in the area.
  • But what about velvet? Velvet is often made from silk.

    When will I be able to ensconce myself in velvet e-devices?

    • by Khyber (864651)

      As soon as we handle the inherent ESD issue involved with such a material, I'd wager.

      • As soon as we handle the inherent ESD issue...

        Or learn to harness its energy potential!

        Just think, for the small price of wearing special underwear, you would never need another battery! Nevermind that the static built up in the underwear would significantly reduce your sperm count...

    • Velvet Hmmm - I want to dress up like a techno fop too. I'd be a digital dandy in the latest High tech hosiery. I be the talk of the town and all of the there Lundon will adore me.
    • by Noughmad (1044096)

      George? Is that you?

  • by psergiu (67614) on Friday March 04, 2011 @06:24AM (#35377984)

    So the future of e-book readers is a substance squeezed from the behind of a mulberry leaf-eating worm ? :-)

    • by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Friday March 04, 2011 @06:37AM (#35378026)
      Yeah, and as such, I had always been under the impression that silk was NOT a low cost product, based on the time and effort required to harvest it, and form it unto a usable sized piece of cloth.
      • Re:Solid slurm ? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dr. Tom (23206) <tomh@nih.gov> on Friday March 04, 2011 @06:41AM (#35378038) Homepage
        they start with something called Liquid Silk. Try doing a google search for that ...
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Damn it! Just got trolled into looking at anal lube while at work. Curse you Dr. Tom.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Silk work silk is made of two proteins. sericin (basically a glue, water soluable) and Fibroin. To make "liquid silk" you just boil the cocoons to get rid of the sericin and then dissolve the fibroin in lithium salts or maybe CaCl?
          Refs:
          (http://www.silk-protein.com/silk-sericin.html)
          Tissue engineering and silk:
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2737252/?tool=pubmed

      • "Silk, a natural protein fiber normally used in textiles, can be easily purchased on the island. The material would cost about NT$10 (about US$0.03) per device."
      • by shawb (16347)
        Depends on your definition of low cost. If you are comparing it to cotton, then it's moderately pricey. If you are comparing it to carbon nanotubes... then it's an outright bargain.
      • by hey! (33014)

        Depends on what you compare it it. A 100mm (roughly 4 inch) wafer of pure silicon could cost as much as $500 in single quantities for certain grades. That's certainly far more expensive than raw silk, although one must consider the cost of preparing the raw silk to be suitable for use in electronics.That's bound to be expensive in small quantities, but reduce itself greatly as the scale of the process increases.

    • by Kyont (145761)

      So the future of e-book readers is a substance squeezed from the behind of a mulberry leaf-eating worm ? :-)

      Yes, but enough about Michael Crichton's latest...

    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      We still use crushed to get red dye

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmine#Production [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Non-vegan computing!

  • Anyone else read this as "Researchers Turned to Silk" like some kind of fabricy medusa?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    of worms becoming the most important creatures to our technological advancement.

  • I just completed reading the article (the scholarly one in the Advanced Materials journal, not TFA) and I can't say it's *that* impressive. They do report a very high mobility value for pentacene (~23 cm2/Vs) allegedly because of very low trapping density at the semiconductor/dielectric interface. That part is nice. But silk as a dielectric...is not impressive. They report a capacitance in the nano F/cm2, whereas everybody using electrolytes as OTFT dielectrics report capacitances in micro F/cm2. And the sp

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