Researchers at the have successfully etched edible circuits onto the surface of food, paving the way for RFID tagged edibles that can help us track food from farm to tummy. The project, which uses something called laser-induced graphene (LIG), is a process that creates a “foam made out of tiny cross-linked graphene flakes” that can carry electricity through carbon-rich products like bread, potatoes, and cardboard.
“Overall, the process demonstrated that LIG can be burned into paper, cardboard, cloth, coal, potatoes, coconuts, toasted bread and other foods,” wrote the researchers who hail from Rice University’s Smalley-Curl Institute and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
The process can embed or burn patterns that could be used as supercapacitors, radio frequency identification (RFID) antennas or biological sensors. Based on these results, the researchers theorized that any substance with a reasonable amount of carbon can be turned into graphene. To test this theory, Tour’s team sought to burn LIG into food, cardboard and several other everyday, carbon-based materials.
Presumably you won’t be etching power sources and other components onto your Pop Tarts but this early research into edible circuits could pave the way for smarter food.