Nov 15, 2007, Fiorenzo Omenetto

From a scarf to a lens- the beauty of silk optics

 Optical devices that are mechanically robust yet fully biodegradable and biocompatible are not available today. Such systems would greatly expand the utility of current optical platforms into a broader range of medical and environmental fields, areas currently limited to retrievable devices. A novel optics platform is described based on exploiting the unique mechanical and processing features of silk fibroin proteins. This system can be prepared in an all-aqueous approach, allowing the direct incorporation of reactive biological components in the devices to add selective functions, the materials can be prepared with optical clarity and with diffraction gratings for direct utility in optical detection modes, the systems are mechanically durable as tough biomaterials, and the systems will fully biodegrade over weeks to years depending on the mode of preparation. The successful demonstration of the bio-optical utility of these novel systems suggests entirely new windows of opportunity in environmental and medical sensor platforms that can not be met with current optical material and device platforms.

Fiorenzo Omenetto

Prof. Omenetto has recently joined the Biomedical Engineering and the Physics Departments at Tufts University from a staff scientist position at Los Alamos National Laboratory. At Los Alamos, after holding a J.R. Oppenheimer fellowship, he was a permanent staff scientist in the Physics Division. Dr. Omenetto is an expert in ultrafast phenomena, nonlinear propagation and photonic crystal fibers and his research has been featured among the most significant achievements in optics for the years 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2006. He currently is conference chair of the 2007 Ultrafast Optics conference and serves as the chair of the ultrafast optics subcommittee at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) committee. Since joining Tufts, his activities have been aimed at building a bridge across disciplines and has been heavily involved in the realization of new photonic approaches in biological media. 


DINNER reservations are required by noon, November 12, 2007, the Monday of the meeting. MEETING ONLY reservations are required by noon, November 15, 2007, the day of the meeting. 

Please make reservations on line . Reservations may also be left on the answering machine at 617.584.0266. We no longer have an email address for reservations due to SPAM. When making reservation requests, please provide the following information: 

  • DINNER AND MEETING or meeting only
  • Name(s) and membership status
  • Daytime phone number where you can be reached (in case of change or cancellation)


Best Western TLC in Waltham (Map to TLC)  .

Networking—5:45 PM, Dinner—6:30, Meeting—7:30 PM.


Dinner will include ---- and coffee, tea, or milk.

Vegetarian option available on request 

Dinner Prices:

Members and their guests$25.00 each
Non-members$30.00 (See NOTE Below)

General Information on NES/OSA Meetings

Cancellations and No-shows:

If the meeting must be canceled for any reason, we will try to call you at the phone number you leave with your reservation. Official notice of cancellation will be on our answering machine.

We have to pay for the dinners reserved as of the Tuesday before the meeting, so no-shows eat into our cash reserve. If you will not be able to attend, please let us know as early as possible. Otherwise, no-shows will be billed.

Membership Rates:

Regular members$15.00
Student membersfree

NOTE: The extra $5.00 of the non-member dinner fee can be used toward membership dues if the nonmember joins and pays dues for the current year at the meeting.