Computer engineers have created electronic microchips that can repair themselves, restoring conductivity when power is cut by a crack in the chip’s body. The self-healing circuits work by being intertwined with microcapsules filled with liquid metal. When a crack to the body of the chip cuts power, the microcapsules also crack, releasing the metal inside and restoring the chip’s conductivity. The capsules contain eutectic gallium-indiuma metallic material chosen for its high conductivity and low melting point.
What’s the Big Idea?
Self-repairing microchips would be a huge boon to machines that are perilous to repair, such as space satellites and equipment aboard the International Space Station. The research could also extend the life of rechargeable batteries, whose abilities weaken over time due to internal damage. If the technology were implemented in rechargeable car batteries, the vehicles would become much cheaper to maintain. Researchers also say the technology could help create longer-lasting consumer electronics.