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August 27, 2016 By Andy Ross

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A superlens from silk

Scientists have come up with a novel way to make a normal microscope lens into a superlens, capable of viewing extremely small things. 

Light, as we all know, behaves in very particular ways and that restricts the viewing capabilities of microscopes. But if you place a single thread of silk from an orb-weaver spider on the material you want to magnify, the laws of physics suddenly give another two or three times more magnification by showing a one-dimensional image along the length of the silk. This then allows the magnified image to be magnified again by the microscope and hey presto! A very detailed picture of a very small thing. Isn't that amazing?