The Life and Death of Organic Electronics: Controlling Degradation and Regeneration through Molecular Materials Design

Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Chemistry and Biochemistry


Organic electronics, Molecular materials design, Degradation and regeneration


Rondeau-Gagné, S.


Trant, J.F.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Next-generation electronics will require conformability and stretchability to expand their integration in daily-life objects to be efficient energy and data storage. However, with the design and development of advanced technology comes the growing problem of electronic waste (e-waste). To tackle this growing challenge and access sustainable technologies, we suggest two routes for the fabrication of new electronics and enhancement of current technology that will reduce waste accumulation by using either degradable materials or regenerative materials. We propose the use of self-immolative polymers (SIPs) and self-healing polymers (SHPs) to control the lifetime and durability of various organic electronics through materials design. SIPs are a class of degradable materials that undergo selective depolymerization upon cleavage of a terminal moiety from the polymer chain that can be triggered by an external stimulus. Especially exploited for drug-delivery and nanomedicine, their utilization in organic electronics remain unexplored. The integration of SIPs into electronics has the potential to generate flexible, stimuli-responsive devices that can decompose, thereby avoids the production of e-waste. SHPs are materials that can regenerate upon damage, particularly utilized in electronic skin or wearable electronics. Employing SHPs in electronics is a promising avenue to revolutionize widespread technologies by extending the longevity of devices, therefore reduces e-waste through the consumption of fewer electronics.