Bioinspired Nanostructures for Biomedical Applications

Vinayak Narasimhan
Date: April 15, 2020, 9:30 am
Location: Online

Vinayak Narasimhan Nature boasts a plethora of nanostructures that provide structural coloration. Reptiles, insects, birds and flora, to name a few, present various examples of coloration rendered purely through the physical interaction of various fascinating nanoscale architectures (also known as biophotonic nanostructures) with light. Numerous research efforts have attempted to engineer structural coloration or similar optical properties by creating synthetic analogues of biophotonic nanostructures. As a result, there have been various notable robust cosmetic applications of structural colors. However, beyond just rendering structural coloration, biophotonic nanostructures are truly multifunctional. They often act as self-cleaning and bactericidal surfaces, can be used as natural gas/vapor sensors, are often involved in thermoregulation, amongst providing various other useful functionalities. Biomedical devices for instance often demand multiple functionalities within a diminutive footprint and as a result could greatly benefit from such bioinspiration.

In this talk, I describe two examples of the utilization of nanostructures inspired from biophotonic nanostructures in biomedical applications. In the first example, I will discuss the study and integration of nanostructures inspired by the biophotonic nanostructures of the longtail glasswing (C. faunas) butterfly onto a highly-miniaturized intraocular pressure (IOP) sensor implant. Through a month-long successful in vivo study, these nanostructures greatly improve sensor optical stability and biocompatibility. In the second example, I describe the incorporation of similar bioinspired nanostructures onto a highly-scalable plasmonic metasurface platform that enhances fluorescence while suppressing the effects of quenching. This metasurface is employed in a useful biosensing application to detect various biomolecules like proteins, single-stranded DNA and mRNA in vitro.