2D Materials paper: Laser printing of Graphene Surfaces for Bone Tissue Regeneration

Graphene and Graphene oxide (GO) are capable of inducing stem cells differentiation into bone tissue with variable efficacy depending on reductive state of the material. Thus, modulation of osteogenic process and of bone mineral density distribution is theoretically possible by controlling the GO oxidative state. In this study, we laser-printed GO surfaces in order to obtain both a local photo-thermal GO reduction and the formation of nano-wrinkles along precise geometric pattern. Initially, after cells adhered on the surface, stem cells migrated and accumulated on the reduced and wrinkled surface. When the local density of the stem cells on the reduced stripes was high, cells started to proliferate and occupy the oxidized/flat area. The designed surfaces morphology guided stem cell orientation and the reduction accelerated differentiation. Furthermore the reduced sharp nano-wrinkles were able to enhance the GO antibacterial activity against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), common cause of prosthetic joints infections. This strategy can offer a revolution in present and future trends of scaffolds design for regenerative medicine.

Palmieri, V., Barba, M., Pietro, L.D., Gentilini, S., Braidotti, M.C., Ciancico, C., Bugli, F., Ciasca, G., Larciprete, R., Lattanzi, W., Sanguinetti, M., Spirito, M.D., Conti, C., Papi, M. (2017) “Reduction and shaping of graphene-oxide by laser-printing for controlled bone tissue regeneration and bacterial killing”2D Materials 

Observation of replica symmetry breaking in disordered nonlinear wave propagation

A landmark of statistical mechanics, spin-glass theory describes critical phenomena in disordered systems that range from condensed matter to biophysics and social dynamics. The most fascinating concept is the breaking of replica symmetry: identical copies of the randomly interacting system that manifest completely different dynamics. Replica symmetry breaking has been predicted in nonlinear wave propagation, including Bose-Einstein condensates and optics, but it has never been observed. Here, we report the experimental evidence of replica symmetry breaking in optical wave propagation, a phenomenon that emerges from the interplay of disorder and nonlinearity. When mode interaction dominates light dynamics in a disordered optical waveguide, different experimental realizations are found to have an anomalous overlap intensity distribution that signals a transition to an optical glassy phase. The findings demonstrate that nonlinear propagation can manifest features typical of spin-glasses and provide a novel platform for testing so-far unexplored fundamental physical theories for complex systems.

Davide Pierangeli, Andrea Tavani, Fabrizio Di Mei, Aharon J. Agranat, Claudio Conti, Eugenio Del Re, Nature Communications 8:1501 (2017)

Lasing on nonlinear localized waves in curved geometry

The use of geometrical constraints exposes many new perspectives in photonics and in fundamental studies of nonlinear waves. By implementing surface structures in vertical cavity surface emitting lasers as manifolds for curved space, we experimentally study the impacts of geometrical constraints on nonlinear wave localization. We observe localized waves pinned to the maximal curvature in an elliptical-ring, and confirm the reduction in the localization length of waves by measuring near and far field patterns, as well as the corresponding energy-angle dispersion relation. Theoretically, analyses based on a dissipative model with a parabola curve give good agreement remarkably to experimental measurement on the reduction in the localization length. The introduction of curved geometry allows to control and design lasing modes in the nonlinear regime.

Kou-Bin Hong, Chun-Yan Lin, Tsu-Chi Chang, Wei-Hsuan Liang, Ying-Yu Lai, Chien-Ming Wu, You-Lin Chuang, Tien-Chang Lu, Claudio Conti, and Ray-Kuang Lee in Optics Express 25, 29068 (2017)

OUTNANO out-of-equilibrium nanophotonics

OUTNANO is a Marie Curie Fellowship in the H2020 program funding activity on Out of Equilibrium Nano-photonics

The Marie Curie Fellow is Andrea Marini, a top level young scientist with an extended research career in Nonlinear Photonics.

A new approach for studying novel optical materials in out-of-equilibrium ultrafast dynamics is the goal of this interdisciplinary projects committing together ideas of statical mechanics of complex systems and nonlinear photonics. We will conceive a new generation of nonlinear devices operating at the fastest achievable speeds for classical and quantum applications.

Team of the OUTNANO project

Andrea Marini

Claudio Conti

Topological cascade laser for frequency comb generation in PT-symmetric structures

The cascade of resonant topological structures with PT-symmetry breaking is shown to emit laser light with a frequency-comb spectrum. We consider optically active topological Aubry-Andr\’e-Harper lattices supporting edge-modes at regularly spaced frequencies. When the amplified resonances in the PT-broken regime match the edge modes of the topological gratings, we predict the emission of discrete laser lines. A proper design enables to engineer the spectral features for specific applications. The robustness of the topological protection makes the system very well suited for a novel generation of compact frequency comb emitters for spectroscopy, metrology, and quantum information.

Pilozzi and Conti, arXiv:1707.09191