The patch is compatible with flexible electronic applications. (Credit: Tampere University)

A biodegradable, transparent, flexible and fast-acting thermo-therapy patch from plant leaves is compatible with flexible electronic applications. Plant material was used to reduce the amount of electronic waste.

The researchers used leaves from a Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa). The veins of the leaves have a fractal pattern that makes the surface highly flexible and shearable. Silver nanowires were attached to the leaf skeleton, and the surface was encapsulated in a biodegradable transparent tape.

The fractal-based design can also be used in flexible electronic applications because it overcomes the limitations of conventional planar designs by maximizing the surface area at the microscale, or more specifically, maximizing the surface area to volume ratio via simple scaling. The large surface area enables effective heat transfer, allowing a rapid response time and preventing overheating. Due to the flexible structure and uniform heating of the patch, it can also be attached to moving joints for orthopedic applications.

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