Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Behind the Secrets of Silk Lie High-Tech Opportunities

Using biocompatible green processing, silk cocoons can yield a pure silk protein with numerous applications in fields such as medicine and electronics. The silk card above shows diffractive optics entirely constituted by pure silk obtained by pouring silk solution on nanopatterned molds and letting the solution dry and crystallize. The resulting film retains the pattern and is a free-standing optical component so flexible it can be rolled up. (Fiorenzo Omenetto/Tufts University)
Using biocompatible green processing, silk cocoons can yield a pure silk protein with numerous applications in fields such as medicine and electronics. The silk card above shows diffractive optics entirely constituted by pure silk obtained by pouring silk solution on nanopatterned molds and letting the solution dry and crystallize. The resulting film retains the pattern and is a free-standing optical component so flexible it can be rolled up. (Fiorenzo Omenetto/Tufts University)

Abstract:
A Decade of Research Yields New Uses for Ancient Material

Behind the Secrets of Silk Lie High-Tech Opportunities

Medford/Somerville, MA | Posted on July 31st, 2010

Tougher than a bullet-proof vest yet synonymous with beauty and luxury, silk fibers are a masterpiece of nature whose remarkable properties have yet to be fully replicated in the laboratory.

Thanks to their amazing mechanical properties as well as their looks, silk fibers have been important materials in textiles, medical sutures, and even armor for 5,000 years.

Silk spun by spiders and silk worms combines high strength and extensibility. This one-two punch is unmatched by synthetics, even though silk is made from a relatively simple protein processed from water.

But in recent years scientists have begun to unravel the secrets of silk.

In the July 30, 2010, issue of the journal Science, Tufts biomedical engineering researchers Fiorenzo Omenetto, Ph.D., and David Kaplan, Ph.D., report that "Silk-based materials have been transformed in just the past decade from the commodity textile world to a growing web of applications in more high technology directions."

Fundamental discoveries into how silk fibers are made have shown that chemistry, molecular biology and biophysics all play a role in the process. These discoveries have provided the basis for a new generation of applications for silk materials, from medical devices and drug delivery to electronics.

Edible Optics, Implantable Electronics

The Science paper notes that the development of silk hydrogels, films, fibers and sponges is making possible advances in photonics and optics, nanotechnology, electronics, adhesives and microfluidics, as well as engineering of bone and ligaments. Because silk fiber formation does not rely on complex or toxic chemistries, such materials are biologically and environmentally friendly, even able to integrate with living systems.

Down the silk road of the future, Kaplan and Omenetto believe applications could include degradable and flexible electronic displays for sensors that are biologically and environmentally compatible and implantable optical systems for diagnosis and treatment. Progress in "edible optics" and implantable electronics has already been demonstrated by Kaplan and Omenetto, John Rogers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and others.

Many challenges remain. Kaplan and Omenetto say that key questions include how to fully replicate native silk assembly in the lab, how best to mimic silk protein sequences via genetic engineering to scale-up materials production, and how to use silk as a model polymer to spur new synthetic polymer designs that mimic natural silk's green chemistry.

Techniques for reprocessing natural silk protein in the lab continue to advance. Silks are also being cloned and expressed in a variety of hosts, including E. coli bacteria, fungi, plants and mammals, and through transgenic silkworms.

One day, efficient transgenic plants could be used to crop silk in much the same way that cotton is harvested today, the Tufts researchers note in their paper. In some regions, silk production might create a new microeconomy, as demand grows and production techniques improve.

"Based on the recent and rapid progression of silk materials from the ancient textile use into a host of new high-technology applications, we anticipate growth in the use of silks in a wide platform of applications will continue as answers to these remaining questions are obtained," say Omenetto and Kaplan.

Kaplan is chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department at Tufts School of Engineering and the Stern Family Professor in Engineering. He also directs the NIH Tissue Engineering Resource Center that involves Tufts and Columbia University. His work lies at the interface between biology and materials science and engineering, and he has been studying novel biomaterials, many of them silk-based, for 30 years. Professor of Biomedical Engineering Fiorenzo Omenetto is a frequent collaborator with Kaplan who has pioneered silk optics and use of silk as a green material for photonics and other high tech applications.

Support for this research on silk comes from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Science Research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

####

About Tufts University
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.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Kim Thurler
617-627-3175

Copyright © Tufts University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

'Stealth' nanoparticles could improve cancer vaccines October 1st, 2014

Stressed Out: Research Sheds New Light on Why Rechargeable Batteries Fail October 1st, 2014

New Absorber Will Lead to Better Biosensor: Biosensors are more sensitive and able to detect smaller changes in the environment October 1st, 2014

Graphene chips are close to significant commercialization October 1st, 2014

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

'Greener,' low-cost transistor heralds advance in flexible electronics September 24th, 2014

Nanotechnology leads to better, cheaper LEDs for phones and lighting September 24th, 2014

Southampton scientists grow a new challenger to graphene September 23rd, 2014

New research points to graphene as a flexible, low-cost touchscreen solution September 19th, 2014

Microfluidics/Nanofluidics

Dolomite to launch Meros TCU-100 temperature controller at Lab-on-a-Chip & Microarray World Congress September 15th, 2014

First Colloid and Polymer Science Lecture awarded to Orlin D. Velev: Chemical engineer honored for outstanding research in colloid science September 12th, 2014

UO-Berkeley Lab unveil new nano-sized synthetic scaffolding technique: Oil-and-water approach from Richmond's UO lab to spark new line of versatile peptoid nanosheets September 2nd, 2014

Nanoscale assembly line August 29th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Novel approach to magnetic measurements atom-by-atom October 1st, 2014

'Stealth' nanoparticles could improve cancer vaccines October 1st, 2014

NREL Announces New Center Directors to lead R&D, Analysis Efforts September 30th, 2014

A Heartbeat Away? Hybrid "Patch" Could Replace Transplants: TAU researcher harnesses gold nanoparticles to engineer novel biocompatible cardiac patch September 30th, 2014

Possible Futures

Air Forceís 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014

IBM Announces $3 Billion Research Initiative to Tackle Chip Grand Challenges for Cloud and Big Data Systems: Scientists and engineers to push limits of silicon technology to 7 nanometers and below and create post-silicon future July 10th, 2014

Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014

Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014

Academic/Education

Yale University and Leica Microsystems Partner to Establish Microscopy Center of Excellence: Yale Welcomes Scientists to Participate in Core Facility Opening and Super- Resolution Workshops October 20 Through 31, 2014 September 30th, 2014

Rice launches Center for Quantum Materials: RCQM will immerse global visitors in cross-disciplinary research September 30th, 2014

Biosensors Get a Boost from Graphene Partnership: $5 Million Investment Supports Dozens of Jobs and Development of 300mm Fabrication Process and Wafer Transfer Facility September 18th, 2014

Malvern technology delivers Malvern reliability in multi-disciplinary lab at Queen Mary University London September 9th, 2014

Chip Technology

Breakthrough in ALD-graphene by Picosun technology October 1st, 2014

Graphene chips are close to significant commercialization October 1st, 2014

Speed at its limits September 30th, 2014

Research mimics brain cells to boost memory power September 30th, 2014

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead Expands Management Team with Appointment of Susan Boynton as Vice President Global Regulatory Affairs October 1st, 2014

Nanobotmodels present metastasis and angiogenesis medical animation October 1st, 2014

'Stealth' nanoparticles could improve cancer vaccines October 1st, 2014

New Absorber Will Lead to Better Biosensor: Biosensors are more sensitive and able to detect smaller changes in the environment October 1st, 2014

Sensors

New Absorber Will Lead to Better Biosensor: Biosensors are more sensitive and able to detect smaller changes in the environment October 1st, 2014

Graphene and Amaranthus Superparamagnets: Breakthrough nanoparticles discovery of Indian researcher September 23rd, 2014

IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting To Celebrate 60th Anniversary as The Leading Technical Conference for Advanced Semiconductor Devices September 18th, 2014

Biosensors Get a Boost from Graphene Partnership: $5 Million Investment Supports Dozens of Jobs and Development of 300mm Fabrication Process and Wafer Transfer Facility September 18th, 2014

Nanoelectronics

Breakthrough in ALD-graphene by Picosun technology October 1st, 2014

Grenoble Hosting SEMICON Europa Oct. 7-9, First Time Event Held in France: Letiís 90-square-meter Booth Will Feature Portable Showroom To Demonstrate New Technology Innovations September 24th, 2014

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Rice rolls 'neat' nanotube fibers: Rice University researchers' acid-free approach leads to strong conductive carbon threads September 15th, 2014

Discoveries

Novel approach to magnetic measurements atom-by-atom October 1st, 2014

Nanoparticles Accumulate Quickly in Wetland Sediment: Aquatic food chains might be harmed by molecules "piggybacking" on carbon nanoparticles October 1st, 2014

'Stealth' nanoparticles could improve cancer vaccines October 1st, 2014

Stressed Out: Research Sheds New Light on Why Rechargeable Batteries Fail October 1st, 2014

Announcements

'Stealth' nanoparticles could improve cancer vaccines October 1st, 2014

Stressed Out: Research Sheds New Light on Why Rechargeable Batteries Fail October 1st, 2014

New Absorber Will Lead to Better Biosensor: Biosensors are more sensitive and able to detect smaller changes in the environment October 1st, 2014

Graphene chips are close to significant commercialization October 1st, 2014

Environment

Nanoparticles Accumulate Quickly in Wetland Sediment: Aquatic food chains might be harmed by molecules "piggybacking" on carbon nanoparticles October 1st, 2014

Production of Filters for Separation of Water from Petroleum Products in Iran October 1st, 2014

On the Road to Artificial Photosynthesis: Berkeley Lab Study Reveals Key Catalytic Factors in Carbon Dioxide Reduction September 25th, 2014

World's smallest reference material is big plus for nanotechnology September 25th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

Ad-REIC vaccine: A magic bullet for cancer treatment September 30th, 2014

How things coil: Researchers discover that simulation technology designed for Hollywood can be used as a predictive tool for understanding fundamental engineering problems September 29th, 2014

Penn Team Studies Nanocrystals by Passing Them Through Tiny Pores September 26th, 2014

New NIH/DOE Grant for Life Science Studies at NSLS-II: Funding will support operation of three powerful experimental stations designed to reveal detailed structures of proteins, viruses, and more September 23rd, 2014

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

New Absorber Will Lead to Better Biosensor: Biosensors are more sensitive and able to detect smaller changes in the environment October 1st, 2014

Speed at its limits September 30th, 2014

'Pixel' engineered electronics have growth potential: Rice, Oak Ridge, Vanderbilt, Penn scientists lead creation of atom-scale semiconducting composites September 29th, 2014

Southampton scientists grow a new challenger to graphene September 23rd, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE