Seminar series: A nanoscopic journey from Spider Silk to Nanoplasmonic Structures

9. 3. 2023, 13:00 - 15:00 

CEITEC, Purkyňova 123, Building S, Meeting room – S2.02 

Assoc. Prof. Jacek Fiutowski
University of Southern Denmark

Focused Ion beams have emerged as an instrument of choice for patterning, imaging and analytics at the nanoscale. Helium Ion Microscopy (HIM) imaging can perform at resolutions down to 0.5 nm with high contrast, depth of field, and directly on insulating samples. Furthermore, HIM images provide contrast mechanisms, which can reveal topography, composition, and other types of information significantly different from the scanning electron microscope. In this talk, I will review our recent activities and progress on the characterization of organic and inorganic materials, combing HIM with various optical microscopy techniques.

As an example, I will show that Helium Ion Microscopy (HIM), in combination with ion milling, can be used to visualize the inner structure of both Major and Minor Ampullate silk fibres of the orb-web weaving spider Nephila madagascariensis. We applied HIM for spider silk imaging and etching away the outer lipid layers to visualize the inner protein arrangements with almost no sample preparation. For the first time without cryofreezing, it was found that the protein core consists of fibrils parallel to each other and the fibre's long axis. In the second part of the presentation, we will focus on the fabrication of plasmonic structures and seamless switching between gallium, neon and helium ion beams.