IBM: The tiny bit of silicon that could save lives
Suppose a semiconductor were flexible. You could make a chip that could be sewn into your clothes to monitor your heart. That tiny bit of silicon could also be placed inside your body, and when equipped with an antenna and surrounded by bio-safe packaging, it could inform doctors of your condition long before it becomes critical.
Using a process called “spalling,” researchers at IBM’s Watson Research Center can literally peel off the very top layer of a semiconductor. Although the slice is 10,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper, it retains the functionality of the underlying circuit, while consuming a mere 0.6 volts of power, and could cover or roll on top of almost anything, says IBM’s Stephen Bedell.