Flexible and Green Electronics Manufactured by Origami Folding of Nanosilicate-Reinforced Cellulose Paper

Firoz Babu Kadumudi, Jon Trifol, Mohammadjavad Jahanshahi, Tiberiu Gabriel Zsurzsan, Mehdi Mehrali, Eva Zeqiraj, Hossein Shaki, Morteza Alehosseini, Carsten Gundlach, Qiang Li, Mingdong Dong, Mohsen Akbari, Arnold Knott, Kristoffer Almdal, Alireza Dolatshahi-Pirouz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Today's consumer electronics are made from nonrenewable and toxic components. They are also rigid, bulky, and manufactured in an energy-inefficient manner via CO2-generating routes. Though petroleum-based polymers such as polyethylene terephthalate and polyethylene naphthalate can address the rigidity issue, they have a large carbon footprint and generate harmful waste. Scalable routes for manufacturing electronics that are both flexible and ecofriendly (Fleco) could address the challenges in the field. Ideally, such substrates must incorporate into electronics without compromising device performance. In this work, we demonstrate that a new type of wood-based [nanocellulose (NC)] material made via nanosilicate (NS) reinforcement can yield flexible electronics that can bend and roll without loss of electrical function. Specifically, the NSs interact electrostatically with NC to reinforce thermal and mechanical properties. For instance, films containing 34 wt % of NS displayed an increased young's modulus (1.5 times), thermal stability (290 → 310 °C), and a low coefficient of thermal expansion (40 ppm/K). These films can also easily be separated and renewed into new devices through simple and low-energy processes. Moreover, we used very cheap and environmentally friendly NC from American Value Added Pulping (AVAP) technology, American Process, and therefore, the manufacturing cost of our NS-reinforced NC paper is much cheaper ($0.016 per dm-2) than that of conventional NC-based substrates. Looking forward, the methodology highlighted herein is highly attractive as it can unlock the secrets of Fleco electronics and transform otherwise bulky, rigid, and "difficult-to-process" rigid circuits into more aesthetic and flexible ones while simultaneously bringing relief to an already-overburdened ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number42
Pages (from-to)48027–48039
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Nanocellulose
  • Origami electronics
  • Green electronics
  • Flexible electronics
  • Nanosilicate
  • Circular economy


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