Today, researchers at Purdue University are encouraging the use of spider web architectural features in biomedical imaging.
As spider webs typically have high mechanical adaptability and damage-tolerance against different mechanical loads, such as storms, according to a news release, they are helpful in the design of 3D photodetectors for use in biomedical imaging.
In the release, Purdue assistant professor of biomedical & mechanical engineering Chi Hwan Lee said, “We used the unique fractal architecture of a spider web for the creation of deformable and reliable electronics that can seamlessly interface with any 3D curvilinear surface.” “We have shown for example, a hemispherical or dome-shaped array of photodetectors that can simultaneously detect both the direction and strength of incident light, such as the vision system of arthropods such as insects and crustaceans.”
The Purdue researchers, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Research Laboratory, published work in Advanced Materials detailing the use of a spider web’s structural architecture that exhibits a repeating pattern.
According to the efficient ratio of spiral and radial dimensions, the pattern offers the ability to spread externally induced stress across the threads, Lee said, while also offering more extensibility for better dissipation of force under stretching.
The 3D optoelectronic architectures resulting from the spider web make for an attractive choice in photodetection systems requiring a wide field of view and wide-angle antireflection, particularly for biomedical and military imaging purposes.
In this work, the assembly technique introduced allows 2D deformable electronics to be implemented in 3D architectures, which can foreshadow new opportunities to further advance the field of 3D electronic and optoelectronic devices.