The team of Prof Taohu has made important progress in transient soluble micronano optical technology

Date:05-12-2017   |   【Print】 【close

Diffractive optical element (DOE) consists of thin micro structure patterns which change the phase of the light propagating through it. It can be used for the transformation of coherent and partially coherent light sources into desired intensity profile. Currently, DOEs are typically fabricated from inorganic constituents such as glass and some synthetic polymers. However, the lack of biocompatible (and preferably also biodegradable) building materials and the lack of facile methods for efficient functionalization greatly limits their pervasive application.

Naturally extracted silk fibroin protein has recently attracted a lot of attention since it is transparent to the visible light, mechanically strong and has excellent surface smoothness when processed into thin films, all of which make it a suitable material for a wide range of optical devices. In conventional optics systems, each component of them must remain physically invariant to allow the system to function properly. However, to meet the growing demand for implantable devices that need to stay functional within medically useful time frames but then completely disappear via resorption by the body without the need of a secondary surgery, a physically transient form of functional optics is emerging. Silk proteins are bioactive, biocompatible and biodegradable, which makes silk-based DOEs a promising candidate for biosensing applications. The diffraction pattern of a DOE is highly sensitive to its surrounding environments and its structural integrity, which offers numerous opportunities for sensing applications based on its transient behavior. Compared with DOE-based biosensors that have been reported, the device reported in this work is attractive for excellent biocompatibility, ease of functionalization and controllable biodegradability, which opens up opportunities for an emerging field: Transient Optics.