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23 May 2013 Optics with diatoms: towards efficient, bioinspired photonic devices at the micro-scale
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Abstract
Diatoms are monocellular algae responsible of 20-25% of the global oxygen produced by photosynthetic processes. The protoplasm of every single cell is enclosed in an external wall made of porous hydrogenated silica, the frustule. In recent times, many effects related to photonic properties of diatom frustules have been discovered and exploited in applications: light confinement induced by multiple diffraction, frustule photoluminescence applied to chemical and biochemical sensing, photonic-crystal-like behavior of valves and girdles. In present work we show how several techniques (e.g. digital holography) allowed us to retrieve information on light manipulation by diatom single valves in terms of amplitude, phase and polarization, both in air and in a cytoplasmatic environment. Possible applications in optical microsystems of diatom frustules and frustule-inspired devices as active photonic elements are finally envisaged.
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E. De Tommasi, I. Rea, L. De Stefano, P. Dardano, G. Di Caprio, M. A. Ferrara, and G. Coppola "Optics with diatoms: towards efficient, bioinspired photonic devices at the micro-scale", Proc. SPIE 8792, Optical Methods for Inspection, Characterization, and Imaging of Biomaterials, 87920O (23 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2021613; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2021613
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