Biocompatible and biodegradable photonics

We are interested in developing a variety of biomedical photonic devices using principles, materials and structures that are biologically inspired or bio-engineered, implantable, biodegradable, wearable, and often mimicking nature at scales from nano to macro levels. Motivation of such devices is primarily for sensing, diagnostics, and therapeutics for applications in medicine, solving the limitations of conventional optical devices and conventional approaches. Often time, our work is driven by intellectual curiosity, even without specific applications in mind.


One of our ongoing interests is to develop light-guiding, functional devices using hydrogels and polymers. A variety of optical techniques in photomedicine require efficient delivery of light deep into and from tissues, but the limited penetration of light in tissue constitutes a serious constraint in clinical use. Fiber-optic devices or catheters have been useful in bringing a light source close to the target tissue in the body. However, delivering the light further into the tissue has remained a challenge. We are developing a new class of optical devices and previously unexplored approaches for therapy, surgery and diagnosis, as well as sensing.


Selected papers

1. Light-guiding hydrogels for cell-based sensing and optogenetic synthesis in vivo. Nature Photonics 2013

2. Bio-optimized energy transfer in densely packed fluorescent protein enables near-maximal luminescence and solid-state lasers” Nature Communications 2014 5:5722

3. Step-index optical fiber made of biocompatible hydrogels. Advanced Materials 2015.

4. Bioabsorbable polymer optical waveguides for deep-tissue photomedicine. Nature Communications 2016;7:10374

5. An optical lens-microneedle array for percutaneous light delivery. Biomedical Optics Express 2016;7:4220-4227.

6. Toward biomaterial-based implantable photonic devices. Nanophotonics 2016;5:60-80.

7. Highly stretchable, strain sensing hydrogel optical fibers. Advanced Materials 2016.

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