We have several projects developing new polymeric materials with interesting behavior; for example, large non-linear optical coefficients or response to environmental stimuli. The approaches focus on methods for synthesis which can directly attach (graft) the polymers to the surface of devices, thus enabling orientation of the polymers in a specific manner.
Silica Sol-gel Materials
We are currently studying ways to tailor the synthesis of sol-gel based optical glasses to control the optical properties to improve the final device characteristics. This includes the addition of dopants to create lasers or high refractive index materials to manipulate light propagation.
Our efforts in nanoparticle synthesis are focused on two distinctly different applications: 1) the development of non-linear optical materials for integrated devices and 2) development of imaging agents. Given this breadth, we are employing a wide range of synthesis methods and characterization techniques.
As complementary work to our biological systems efforts, we have several projects investigating routes to efficiently and controllably attach and orient biomolecules to the surface of optical devices without degrading their optical performance. We are exploring conventional routes and targeting strategies (eg NHS ester techniques) as well as developing methods of non-destructive removal and regeneration of the device surface.
Recent papers in this area:
S. Mehrabani, P. Kwong, M. Gupta, A. M. Armani, “Hybrid microcavity humidity sensor”, Applied Physics Letters 102, 241101 (2013).