Can Environmentally Friendly Electronics be Possible?

Researchers from Istituto Officina dei Materiali at CNR and of the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste (SISSA) have created a new ferroelectric material, called diisopropylammonium bromide (DIPAB), which may be the answer to creating more environmentally friendly electronics.

It is no little-known fact that electronics have a large impact on the environment and researchers are trying to find ways to create electronics that are not as harsh. An international team of researchers, from the Istituto Officina dei Materiali at CNR and of the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste (SISSA), have created DIPAB as a way to accomplish just that. Their findings have just been published in Science magazine.

"A ferroelectric material has properties analogous to those of a magnet in electricity, a system in which the electric dipoles tend to “line up”. Materials with such characteristics are key in the production of electronic devices, from ordinary computers to solar cells. The materials that are usually employed, like barium or titanium oxides, have a very strong impact on the environment and, besides, require complex equipment for their production,” explains researcher, Massimo Capone.

"This is not the case of the organic compound we have elaborated and studied, that can be processed very easily from aqueous solution and has a low impact on the environment" comments Gianluca Giovannetti, a fellow researcher. “And not only is it environmentally friendlier, but also cheaper.”

DIPAB is defined as a molecular crystal. "Basically it is a lattice in which at each point, instead of a single atom, as observed in normal crystals, an entire molecule is found," explains Capone. "This is a crucial aspect, as such molecules feature “tails” that can orient themselves much more easily than what occurs with ions in atomic crystals, thus favoring polarization."

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