An Ancient Material Finds New Uses in Nano Age

Silk worms dine on their staple of mulberry leaves

For centuries caravans crisscrossed the Middle East and snaked through China in the pursuit of silk and its wondrous qualities. Today, researchers are still finding new uses for silk by creating new forms through reverse engineering and with the help of nanotechnology.

Learn more about silk's high-tech future from Fiorenzo Omenetto, a professor of biomedical engineering. Omenetto leads the laboratory for Ultrafast Nonlinear Optics and Biophotonics at Tufts University and also holds an appointment in the Department of Physics. His research spans nonlinear optics, nanostructured materials (such as photonic crystals and photonic crystal fibers), biomaterials and biopolymer-based photonics. Most recently, he's working on high-tech applications for silk.

You can hear him speak about his work on high-tech applications for silk in the video panel at right.

Photo: Silk worms by Alberto Alerigi via Flickr