Ultrafast Optics and Biophotonics,

technological biomaterials

omenetto lab


Reinterpreting materials  at the interface

of technology and  life  sciences -  

Using biological materials  for technological  applications

Future technologies will be enabled by new materials that connect humans and technology in unprecedented ways.  

Biologically derived materials are particularly interesting to reframe our approach to technological applications.  New innovative approaches are required to think about the design rules required for these materials, and how such naturally-derived materials can match the technical performance of commonly used contemporary materials such as plastics, glass, or semiconductors.

These themes make us think how to reinvent materials for contemporary uses, how to be sustainable without sacrificing technical performance, and how to imagine a new materials platform that is both bio-integrated and bio-ispired.

As such the group’s interest is in the use of naturally-derived materials for applications in photonics and electronics and in engineering applications that embed and unusual functionality without loss of performance. 

The unique combination of properties accessible with these classes of materials enables a wide range of functional forms that cover all scales and  are seamlessly integrated with the environment that surrounds them.

We are specifically interested in engineered and biomimetic optical materials (such as photonic crystals and photonic crystal fibers) and novel/unconventional organic, sustainable optical materials for photonics, electronics, and optoelectronics.   

As an example, in close partnership with resident biopolymer expertise, we have pioneered resorbable silk optics as a versatile material platform for  technology and demonstrated multiple manufacturing approaches to manufacture optical and electronic devices at multiple scales (from the nano- to micro- to the macroscale).  Multiple applications have been demonstrated using this platform ranging from all-water based photo- and electron-beam resists, to edible sensors, implantable photonics and photonic crystals, bio-based lasers, to resorbable optics and resorbable electronics.

The research context is extra-disciplinary establishing multiple links among diverse fields (such as Physics, Engineering, Biology, Medicine, Material Sciences and Chemistry).  As a consequence, we are actively engaged in collaborations across departments and outside Tufts to develop ways to approach a problem from multiple vantage points. Our research thrives on combining methods and expertise from different scientific backgrounds and looking for connections between traditionally separate fields and presents a unique set of challenges and very creative and pragmatic researchers.

This goal is to provide an environment that will foster the individual's scientific curiosity and creativity in face of these complexities to challenge the status quo of today’s materials.  Our goal is to provide innovation for new advanced material processing and manufacturing based on sustainable carbon-neutral technologies, and imagine a new class of applications for living materials that operate seamlessly at the interface between the biological and the technological worlds