Researchers at Purdue University are today touting the use of architectural features from spider webs in biomedical imaging.
As spider webs usually provide strong mechanical adaptability and damage-tolerance against various mechanical loads, such as storms, they are coming in handy in the development of 3D photodetectors for use in biomedical imaging, according to a news release.
“We employed the unique fractal design of a spider web for the development of deformable and reliable electronics that can seamlessly interface with any 3D curvilinear surface,” Purdue assistant professor of biomedical & mechanical engineering Chi Hwan Lee said in the release. “For example, we demonstrated a hemispherical, or dome-shaped, photodetector array that can detect both direction and intensity of incident light at the same time, like the vision system of arthropods such as insects and crustaceans.”
Supported by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Purdue researchers published work in Advanced Materials outlining the use of the structural architecture of a spider web that exhibits a repeating pattern.
The pattern offers the ability to distribute externally induced stress throughout the threads according to the effective ratio of spiral and radial dimensions, Lee said, while it also provides more extensibility to better dissipate force under stretching.
Jai N. Gupta professor of electrical & computer engineering Muhammad Ashraful Alam said the 3D optoelectronic architectures that result from the spider web make for an attractive option in photodetection systems that require a large field of view and wide-angle antireflection, particularly in biomedical and military imaging purposes.
“The assembly technique presented in this work enables deploying 2D deformable electronics in 3D architectures, which may foreshadow new opportunities to better advance the field of 3D electronic and optoelectronic devices,” Lee said.