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Technique Triggers Electronic Circuits to Self-Destruct


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The self-destructing chip.

Researchers at Cornell University and Honeywell Aerospace say they have invented a method for triggering the discreet self-destruction of electronic circuits.

Credit: The Engineer

Researchers at Cornell University and Honeywell Aerospace say they have invented a method for triggering the discreet self-destruction of electronic circuits by using a silicon-dioxide microchip affixed to a polycarbonate shell containing microscopic cavities filled with rubidium and sodium biflouride, which can thermally react and decompose the microchip.

Cornell's Ved Gund notes the reaction can be triggered remotely using radio waves to open graphene-on-nitride valves that keep the chemicals sealed in the cavities. "The encapsulated rubidium then oxidizes vigorously, releasing heat to vaporize the polycarbonate shell and decompose the sodium bifluoride," Gund says. "The latter controllably releases hydrofluoric acid to etch away the electronics."

Cornell professor Amit Lal notes the stackable architecture enables the fabrication of "small, vaporizable, LEGO-like blocks to make arbitrarily large vanishing electronics."

Because no harmful byproducts are released upon disintegration, the developers foresee biomedical and environmental applications for the method in addition to data protection.

From The Engineer (United Kingdom)
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