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Functionalized-Silk-Based Active Optofluidic Devices



Silk protein from the silkworm Bombyx mori has excellent chemical and mechanical stability, biocompatibility, and optical properties. Additionally, when the protein is purified and reformed into materials, the biochemical functions of dopants entrained in the protein matrix are stabilized and retained. This unique combination of properties make silk a useful multifunctional material platform for the development of sensor devices. An approach to increase the functions of silk-based devices through chemical modifications to demonstrate an active optofluidic device to sense pH is presented. Silk protein is chemically modified with 4-aminobenzoic acid to add spectral-color-responsive pH sensitivity. The functionalized silk is combined with the elastomer poly(dimethyl siloxane) in a single microfluidic device. The microfluidic device allows spatial and temporal control of the delivery of analytic solutions to the system to provide the optical response of the optofluidic device. The modified silk is stable and spectrally responsive over a wide pH range from alkaline to acidic.

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