Scientists Use Spider Silk to Create Superzoom Microscope

By Gary Cutlack on at

A team from Bangor University claim to have rewritten the rules on how small a thing it's possible to see using a traditional microscope, thanks to using the unique light-bending properties of the spider's web material.

Their technique involves applying the dragline silk produced by a golden silk orb-weaver spider atop the material being looked at. This simple life hack we'll soon all be using to examine bacteria results in a two or three time boost in magnification -- which is quite something given the field of magnifying things is quite old and well established and has been operating at its very limits for many years.

Zoology expert Prof Fritz Vollrath, who helped with the discovery, said: "These lenses could be used for seeing and viewing previously 'invisible' structures, including engineered nano-structures and biological micro-structures as well as, potentially, native germs and viruses." [Nano Letters via BBC]

Image credit: Spider web from Shutterstock

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