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Abstract

A spider uses up to seven different types of silk, all having specific functions, to build its web. For scientists, native silk - directly extracted from spiders - is a tough, biodegradable and biocompatible thread used mainly for tissue engineering and textile applications. Blessed with outstanding optical properties, this protein strand can also be used as an optical fibre and is, moreover, intrinsically sensitive to chemical compounds. In this communication, a pioneering proof-of-concept experiment using spider silk, in its pristine condition, as a new type of fibre-optic relative humidity sensor will be demonstrated and its potential for future applications discussed.

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