The darkest form of ultraviolet light, known as UV-C, is unique because of its reputation as a killer – of harmful organisms. With wavelengths of between 200 and 280 nanometers, this particular form of UV light penetrates the membranes of viruses, bacteria, mold and dust mites, attacking their DNA and killing them.
Researchers at Tufts University’s School of Engineering have developed a new bioinspired technique that transforms silk protein into complex materials that are easily programmable at the nano-, micro- and macro-scales as well as ultralight and robust. Among the varied structures generated was a web of silk nano fibers able to withstand a load 4,000 times its own weight.
A scenario like this might now be possible. Funded by the National Science Foundation and the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research, a group of researchers at Brown, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the California Institute of Technology has created a prototype of a robot based on a bat that can fly in tight spaces and change direction quickly.