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Biosilica slab photonic crystals as an alternative to cleanroom fabrication


Photonics, the manipulation of light at nanoscale, is a key enabling technology with impact in health and energy applications, among others. In most cases photonics still rely on materials and fabrication methods inherited from other disciplines, usually requiring expensive, time-consuming, and environmentally-unfriendly processes. Recent experiments demonstrated that advanced photonic materials, as complex as those known as 2.5 dimensional slab photonic crystals, also occur naturally in diatoms. These microscopic algae precipitate silicic acid from water to produce silicon dioxide in complex periodic structures, relying on intracellular biomineralization mechanisms. We here describe the process for extraction and seperation of the most useful nanostructures of the frustule for photonic applications. We aim to design methods that will allow the scaling up the production of nano-photonic devices through natural means. With this purpose, we present a comprehensive study of the currently available algal culture collections operating worldwide. This list represents the first step to identify possible approaches to the industrial production of natural nanophotonic structures. We propose that advanced photonic materials from diatoms are cost-effective alternatives to nanofabrication, and may be of particular interest when costly nanofabrication technologies and cleanrooms are not available or suitable

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Article information

06 Mar 2020
27 May 2020
First published
27 May 2020

Faraday Discuss., 2020, Accepted Manuscript
Article type

Biosilica slab photonic crystals as an alternative to cleanroom fabrication

J. W. Goessling, V. Paul, A. A. Santiago Gonzalez, M. Ashworth, S. R. Manning and M. Lopez-Garcia, Faraday Discuss., 2020, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/D0FD00031K

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