New York, March 30 IANS | 2 years ago

Giving a clue to cut down toxic materials in manufacturing semi-conductors and electronic devices, engineers at Somerville-based Tufts University have demonstrated that it is possible to generate nanostructures from silk in an environmentally friendly process.

The process involves the use of water as a developing agent and standard fabrication techniques.

"In a world that strives to reduce toxic footprints associated with manufacturing, our laboratory is exploring biopolymers, and silk in particular, as a candidate material to replace plastics in many high-technology applications," explained Fiorenzo Omenetto, a professor of biomedical engineering at the Tufts University.

Nanofabrication is at the heart of manufacturing semi-conductors and other electronic and photonic devices.

It involves high-resolution patterning with features so small that they have at least one dimension no larger than 100 nanometers (nm) -- the size of particles filtered out by surgical masks.

For this work, the Tufts engineers fabricated nanoscale photonic lattices using both neat silk and functionalised silk doped with quantum dots, green fluorescent proteins or horseradish peroxidase.

The study was published online in Nature Nanotechnology.

(Posted on 30-03-2014)

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