The Future of Electronics Recycling

Maybe the future of "ewaste" recycling will be a lot like textile recycling.

From MIT's Technology Review, article by KRISTINA GRIFANTINI

Display devices will no longer be rigid, but pliable.  Stretch them and fold them.

See excerpt below...

Stretchable light: This polymer LED can stretch up to 45 percent along one axis while emitting a sky-blue light.
Credit: UCLA


The First Fully Stretchable OLED

UCLA device is a step toward video displays and phones that could swell or shrink.
  • FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2011
Stretchable electronics promise video displays that could be rolled up and tucked into a shirt pocket, or cell phones that could swell or shrink. Electronic sheets that could be draped like cloth would be a boon for robotic skin and embedded medical devices. 
Now engineers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have taken a step toward these handy electronics by creating the first fully stretchable organic light-emitting diode (OLED). Previously, researchers had only been able to create devices that are bendable but can't stretch, or stretchable pieces that connect smaller, rigid LEDs.
One challenge in creating stretchable electronics is to develop an electrode that maintains its conductivity when deformed. To achieve this property, some researchers have turned to carbon nanotubes because they are stretchable, conductive, and appear transparent in thin layers, letting light shine through. However, for carbon nanotubes to hold their shape, they must be attached to some surface. Coating carbon nanotubes onto a plastic backing has not worked well, because the nanotubes slide off or past each other instead of stretching with the plastic. While some researchers have gotten around this problem, they still were not able to make a completely stretchable OLED.
To make their device entirely pliable, the UCLA researchers devised a novel way of creating a carbon nanotube and polymer electrode and layering it onto a stretchable, light-emitting plastic. To make the blended electrode, the team coated carbon nanotubes onto a glass backing and added a liquid polymer that becomes solid yet stretchable when exposed to ultraviolet light. The polymer diffuses throughout the carbon nanotube network and dries to a flexible plastic that completely surrounds the network rather than just resting alongside it. Peeling the polymer-and-carbon-nanotube mix off of the glass yields a smooth, stretchable, transparent electrode..

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