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

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht 'Y' a protein unicorn might matter in glaucoma
23.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry
23.10.2017 | Rice University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>