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Printed, flexible, and hybrid electronic technologies are advancing rapidly leading to remarkable developments in smart wearables, intelligent textiles, and health monitoring systems. Flexible electronics are typically fabricated on petroleum-derived polymeric substrates. However, in the light of global environmental concerns regarding fossil raw materials, there is a need to drive the production of flexible electronics devices based on sustainable materials. Additionally, there is a need to reduce the quantity of electronic waste by developing material recovery and recycling technologies. Here, a fully biobased and biodegradable substrate tailored for printed flexible electronic applications is developed. Based on a nanocomposite of cellulose nanofibril (CNF) and hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC), the substrate shows excellent mechanical and optical properties for printed flexible electronics applications. High-resolution screen printing of conductive ink and typical electronics assembly processes are possible to realize on the substrate. An electrocardiograph (ECG) device is fabricated on the cellulosic substrate as a technology demonstrator and its performance is confirmed on human volunteers. Last, end-of-life scenarios are studied for printed electronic devices where device degradation and subsequent material recovery concepts are presented. This work demonstrates that sustainable plant-derived materials can play a big role toward a green transition in the electronics industry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2201094
JournalAdvanced Electronic Materials
Issue number4
Early online date29 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • printed electronics
  • cellulose
  • nanocellulose
  • Nanocomposite films
  • biomaterials
  • biobased products
  • biocomposite films
  • flexible devices
  • sustainability


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