Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Silk-based optical waveguides meet biomedical needs

01.09.2009
There is a growing need for biocompatible photonic components for biomedical applications – from in vivo glucose monitoring to detecting harmful viruses or the telltale markers of Alzheimer's. Optical waveguides are of particular interest because of their ability to manipulate and transport light in a controlled manner in a variety of configurations.

In an article featured on the cover of Advanced Materials, researchers at Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign demonstrated a new method for fabricating silk-based optical waveguides that are biocompatible, biodegradable and can be readily functionalized with active molecules. The Tufts-UIUC team successfully demonstrated light guiding through this new class of waveguides created by direct ink writing using Bombyx mori silk fibroin inks.

"In many biomedical applications, waveguides must interface directly with living cells and tissues, requiring the waveguide constituent to be biocompatible. Biodegradability is also desirable," said Tufts' Fiorenzo Omenetto, professor of biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering and professor of physics in the School of Arts and Sciences. "The use of a biocompatible, biodegradable polymer like silk to guide light opens up new opportunities in biologically based modulation and sensing along with an opportunity to integrate light delivery within living tissue."

The research capitalized on Tufts' knowledge of silk-based biopolymers and biophotonics and the expertise of UIUC Professor Jennifer A. Lewis and graduate student Sara T. Parker in direct-write assembly to create complex planar and three-dimensional structures.

"Silks are well suited for this purpose, because they are the strongest and toughest natural fibers known," said David Kaplan, professor and chair of the biomedical engineering department at Tufts' School of Engineering. "Furthermore, the ability to biochemically functionalize or incorporate dopants into the silk-fibroin ink allows for unconventional photoactivation of the waveguides, which is not easily achieved otherwise."

Direct ink writing is a simple, inexpensive technique that does not require harsh processing steps. A computer-controlled three-axis translation stage precisely moves a syringe barrel that houses a viscous ink, which is extruded from a fine deposition nozzle under pressure. The ink flows rapidly through the nozzle, and equally rapidly solidifies upon exiting to retain a filamentary shape while maintaining sufficient optical clarity to guide light.

"Silk Fibroin Waveguides: Biocompatible Silk Printed Optical Waveguides" appeared in the June 19, 2009, issue of Advanced Materials, authored by Sara T. Parker, Peter Domachuk, Jason Amsden, Jason Bressner, Jennifer A. Lewis, David L. Kaplan, and Fiorenzo G. Omenetto.

Research funding was provided by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the US Department of Energy.

Tufts University School of Engineering is uniquely positioned to educate the technological leaders of tomorrow. Located on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus, the School of Engineering offers a rigorous engineering education in an environment characterized by the best blending of a liberal arts college atmosphere with the intellectual and technological resources of a world-class research university. Close collaboration with the School of Arts and Sciences and the university's extraordinary collection of excellent professional schools creates a wealth of educational and research opportunities. The School of Engineering's primary goal is to educate engineers committed to the innovative and ethical application of technology in the solution of societal problems. It also seeks to be a leader among peer institutions in targeted areas of interdisciplinary research and education that impact the well-being of society, including bioengineering, sustainability and innovation in engineering education.

Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.

Kim Thurler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tufts.edu

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>