Fascinating Images Reveal Climbing Abilities of Geckos and Spiders
Helium ion technology allows imaging of objects in their natural state
JENA/Germany, PEABODY/Massachusetts/USA, 09.11.2011.
Scientists from Lewis and Clark College, working collaboratively with the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) in the USA have examined the fascinating climbing skills of geckos and spiders using the ORION helium ion microscope from Carl Zeiss. High resolution images displaying unique definition and detail rendition reveal even the finest structures on the feet of these animals. This imaging advances the understanding of how the masterly climbing skills of these creatures are attributable to adhesive forces or, in other words, intermolecular attractions. The secret lies in the fine structure of the tiny hairs, or „setae“, that cover the undersides of the feet. The spatula-shaped tips of the hairs allow the creatures to make a vast number of contacts with the climbed surface. The simple adhesive force observed between all touching objects enables the gecko or spider to carry many times its own weight when climbing upside down.
How do Geckos climb?
Until now, it was extremely difficult to obtain images of the tiny, delicate hairs. Electron microscopes generate an electrostatic charge on the surface of practically all biological specimens. This impairs the image quality, which is why research scientists frequently cover biological specimens with a thin gold coating during preparation. This, in turn, covers up the fine structures of the gecko and spider hairs. Helium ion microscopy offers a simple but effective solution to this problem: static charge is neutralized in a very straightforward manner, allowing the specimen to be imaged in its natural state. The result: razor-sharp images that offer not only high scientific content, but also an outstanding degree of abstract beauty.
Spider samples have been provided by Dr. S. Gorb. The use of ORION®PLUS HIM at Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN), UNC at Greensboro and NC A&T State U is acknowledged.
The Carl Zeiss Group is a leading group of companies operating worldwide in the optical and opto-electronic industries. Carl Zeiss offers innovative solutions for the future-oriented markets of Medical and Research Solutions, Industrial Solutions, Eye Care and Lifestyle Products. During fiscal year 2009/10 the group of companies generated revenues of around EUR 2.98 billion. From fiscal year 2010/11 onward, eyeglass lens manufacturer Carl Zeiss Vision will be integrated as an autonomous business group (revenues of EUR 880 million in fiscal year 2009/10). The Carl Zeiss Group now has approximately 24,000 employees, including more than 10,000 in Germany. The Carl Zeiss business groups hold leading positions in their markets. Carl Zeiss AG, Oberkochen, is fully owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).
Carl Zeiss Microscopy
Carl Zeiss Microscopy is part of the Carl Zeiss Group.
Carl Zeiss Microscopy is one of the leading manufacturers of light and electron microscope systems and offers complete solutions for biomedical research, the healthcare sector and high-tech industries. Its product line spans from light microscopes, systems for laser scanning microscopes and spectrometry to hardware and software for image acquisition and analysis. The charged particle systems include SEMs, FESEMs, TEMs and FIB workstations along with helium ion microscopes. Service and support offerings complete the portfolio. Carl Zeiss Microscopy is headquartered in Jena, Germany. Other manufacturing and development sites are located in Oberkochen, Goettingen and Munich as well as in the United Kingdom and the United States. In the fiscal year 2009/10, the Microscopy business group of Carl Zeiss generated business revenues of approximately EUR 397 million from light microscopy products. From fiscal year 2011/12, the electron microscopy unit will be consolidated into the Microscopy business group which will create a global workforce of around 2450 people.
Contact for the Press
Carl Zeiss Microscopy
Phone: +49 73 64 20-2294
Fax: +49 7364 20-9206
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