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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Spider Silk Makes A Better Microscope

First Biological Superlens Created Using Spider Silk

Spider silk has the ability to resolve features smaller than any ordinary microscope can see, say materials scientists.

Emerging Technology from the arXiv | May 3, 2016

Back in 1873, the German physicist Ernst Abbe discovered a fundamental limit in the performance of imaging systems such as microscopes or camera lenses. These systems simply cannot resolve features smaller than a critical size determined by the wavelength of light.
For visible light, this resolution limit is about 200 nanometers; anything smaller cannot be resolved. That includes viruses, features inside cells such as microtubules and DNA molecules, even the grooves on a standard Blu-ray DVD disc.

Making finer fibres from spider silk

<more at; related articles and links: (Spider silk delivers finest optical fibres. March 19, 2003) and (Spider Silk: The Mother Nature's Biological Superlens. James N Monks, Bing Yan, and Zengbo Wang. arXiv:1604.08119 [physics.optics]. [Abstract: This paper demonstrates a possible new microfiber bio near field lens that uses minor ampullate spider silk,spun from the Nephila edulis spider, to create a real time image of a surface using near field optical techniques. The microfiber bio lens is the world's first natural superlens created by exploring biological materials. The resolution of the surface image overcomes the diffraction limit, with the ability to resolve patterns at 100 nm under a standard white light source in reflection mode. This resolution offers further developments in superlens technology and paves the way for new bio optics.]>

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