Photonic Application of Diatom Frustules
Diatoms are unicellular aquatic microalgae possessing amazing self-assembled ordered micro-and nanoporous hierarchical silica cell walls called frustules. The quasi-periodic and highly regular pore patterns on the diatom surface are very attractive for applications based on optical and photonic properties of materials. The present contribution reports on pioneering research aimed at explore the multiple scattering and localization of light shown by diatom frustules in order to amplify their photoluminescence in a random laser (RL), as this technology is highly attractive for medical diagnostics and other advanced applications. RL is a special type of laser in which the optical feedback is due to light scattering in an amplifying medium instead of a conventional optical cavity. We have studied a set of selected frustules with different shapes and pore patterns, obtained from diatom cultivation in large scale photobioreactors, for comparative analysis of their random lasing effect in the bioscaffold soaked with organic dyes having luminescence in the visible range. Taking advantage from a multidisciplinary approach combining expertise from biology, physics and materials sciences, relying on high-resolution instrumentation and advanced algal cultivation equipment the results about random laser emission in the composite material were obtained. This will allow going ahead in the research aimed to the application to photonic devices in the field of medicine and medical diagnostic.
C. Sommitsch, M. Ionescu, B. Mishra, E. Kozeschnik and T. Chandra
F. de Matteis et al., "Photonic Application of Diatom Frustules", Materials Science Forum, Vol. 879, pp. 419-423, 2017