Conference paper

From spider webs to a fibre-optic chemical sensor

From the spider’s perspective, silk is not only a building material but also a safety net, a weapon and a sensory organ to detect the presence of prey on its web. For scientists, dragline silk - directly extracted from spiders - is a tough, biodegradable and biocompatible optical fibre. These protein optical threads are made up of millions of repetitive protein sequences and domains that, unlike its silica counterpart, can interact with a multitude of chemical species. In this communication, we will explore the potential of using spider silk as a new type of fibre-optic chemical sensor.

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