We live in a world where the lifetime of electronics is becoming shorter, now approaching an average of several months. This poses a growing ecological problem. This brief review will present some of the initial steps taken to address the issue of electronic waste with biodegradable organic electronic materials. Many organic materials have been shown to be biodegradable, safe, and nontoxic, including compounds of natural origin. Additionally, the unique features of such organic materials suggest they will be useful in biofunctional electronics; demonstrating functions that would be inaccessible for traditional inorganic compounds. Such materials may lead to fully biodegradable and even biocompatible/biometabolizable electronics for many low-cost applications. This review highlights recent progress in these classes of material, covering substrates and insulators, semiconductors, and finally conductors.
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Materials Today (2012) 15(7-8), 340-346