Silk: Optical properties over 12.6 octaves THz-IR-visible-UV range

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Materials, 2017, 10 (4)
Issue Date:
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Domestic (Bombyx mori) and wild (Antheraea pernyi) silk fibers were characterised over a wide spectral range from THz 8 cm-1 (λ = 1.25 mm, f = 0.24 THz) to deep-UV 50 × 103 cm-1 (λ = 200 nm, f = 1500 THz) wavelengths or over a 12.6 octave frequency range. Spectral features at β-sheet, α-coil and amorphous fibroin were analysed at different spectral ranges. Single fiber cross sections at mid-IR were used to determine spatial distribution of different silk constituents and revealed an α-coil rich core and more broadly spread β-sheets in natural silk fibers obtained from wild Antheraea pernyi moths. Low energy T-ray bands at 243 and 229 cm-1 were observed in crystalline fibers of domestic and wild silk fibers, respectively, and showed no spectral shift down to 78 K temperature. A distinct 20 ± 4 cm-1 band was observed in the crystalline Antheraea pernyi silk fibers. Systematic analysis and assignment of the observed spectral bands is presented. Water solubility and biodegradability of silk, required for bio-medical and sensor applications, are directly inferred from specific spectral bands.
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