Flexible Transient Optical Waveguides and Surface-Wave Biosensors Constructed from Monocrystalline Silicon

Wubin Bai, Hongjun Yang, Yinji Ma, Hao Chen, Jiho Shin, Yonghao Liu, Quansan Yang, Irawati Kandela, Zhonghe Liu, Seung Kyun Kang, Chen Wei, Chad R. Haney, Anlil Brikha, Xiaochen Ge, Xue Feng, Paul V. Braun, Yonggang Huang, Weidong Zhou, John A Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Optical technologies offer important capabilities in both biological research and clinical care. Recent interest is in implantable devices that provide intimate optical coupling to biological tissues for a finite time period and then undergo full bioresorption into benign products, thereby serving as temporary implants for diagnosis and/or therapy. The results presented here establish a silicon-based, bioresorbable photonic platform that relies on thin filaments of monocrystalline silicon encapsulated by polymers as flexible, transient optical waveguides for accurate light delivery and sensing at targeted sites in biological systems. Comprehensive studies of the mechanical and optical properties associated with bending and unfurling the waveguides from wafer-scale sources of materials establish general guidelines in fabrication and design. Monitoring biochemical species such as glucose and tracking physiological parameters such as oxygen saturation using near-infrared spectroscopic methods demonstrate modes of utility in biomedicine. These concepts provide versatile capabilities in biomedical diagnosis, therapy, deep-tissue imaging, and surgery, and suggest a broad range of opportunities for silicon photonics in bioresorbable technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1801584
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 9 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • flexible photonics
  • silicon nanomembrane
  • spectroscopy
  • transfer printing
  • transient photonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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