Biophotonic Engineering

This program supports the design, development, and demonstration of biophotonic technologies for biomedical intervention. 


This program focuses on engineering new biophotonic materials, sensors, actuators, and other parts and modules to interface and communicate with human biology and engineered systems for biomedical intervention. These parts and modules act as biotransducers to convert photonic energy to biological action. Projects should be directed towards overcoming a technological challenge that limits biomedical adoption. This program encourages projects that use a design-build-test approach.

Examples of biophotonic parts and modules include but are not limited to:

  • photoactive molecular complexes for optogenetics
  • quantum dots for catalyzing cellular processes
  • plasmonic nanorods for tissue suturing
  • photocatalytic materials for nano-propulsion
  • photosensitive liposomes for tissue vascularization

Additional emphasis

Furthermore, this program focuses on the development of mathematical and computational methods, the development of screening and processing tools, and the discovery of design principles as key components in the design, build, and test methodology to engineer relevant biophotonic modules.


The development of integrated systems is supported by the Bionic Systems, Robotic Systems, Synthetic Biological Systems, and Adaptive Biomaterial Systems programs. The development of technologies for optical imaging is supported by the NIBIB Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy program, and the development of optical probes for imaging is supported by the NIBIB Molecular Probes and Imaging Agents program.