Making High-Res Lenses From Spider Silk

July 07, 2020

Spider silk, especially the different types such as dragline silk, has become popular in recent years due to its different properties and wide range of functional applications.

Now, researchers from Taiwan have discovered another use: lenses for biological imaging.

The scientists – hailing from Tamkang University and National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan – have harvested the power of spider silk to create bio-lenses that can be used to photograph high quality internal images of the human body.

To produce a bio-lense, the team covered a strand of spider silk – thinner than the width of a human hair at two micrometres – in wax, then dripped a special resin over it. They then baked the mixture in an ultraviolet oven to set.

When a laser is applied to the finished product, it produces detailed images of living tissue. As an added benefit, the material is non-toxic, making it safe for use inside the body.

Professor Cheng-Yang Liu, co-head of the study and a researcher at National Yang-Ming University, said: “Dragline silk is an interesting natural material because of its significant features, such as high elasticity, great toughness and large tensile strength.”

Simply put: weight for weight, dragline silk is stronger than steel.

The number of uses for this kind of material is still unknown, but its potential is great.

Image Credit: Source