New research shows that natural silk could be an eco-friendly alternative to more traditional ways of manipulating light, such as through glass or plastic fiber optic cables.
Spiders use their silk to catch lunch. Now physicists are using it to catch light. Two teams independently exploring possible applications for the material's photonic talents will present their latest breakthroughs at the Optical Society's (OSA) Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2012, to be held next week in Rochester, N.Y.
Biomedical engineer Fiorenzo Omenetto of Tufts University in Boston will discuss his group's work fabricating concoctions of proteins that make use of silk's optical properties for implantable sensors and other biology-technology interfaces.