Lasers and spider silk may not seem to have much in common, but thanks to new research being conducted in India the two are now being used together. Since the first laser was built in 1960, lasers have turned out to be incredibly useful tools for a variety of applications, including medical procedures, manufacturing, and alignment solutions.
Kamal Singh, a physicist at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Mohali, India, is obsessed with spider silk. Singh initially focused his research on the remarkable strength of spider silk. He and his team conducted an experiment to see how much twisting a piece of spider silk could withstand before breaking. After 10 full days of twisting spider silk, the strand still did not break.
After the Institute obtained a femtosecond laser, Singh decided to employ the laser in his spider silk experiments. A femtosecond laser, which fires laser pulses that last only 0.000000000000001 seconds, was perfect for working with the silk. The researchers discovered that firing UV light from the laser allowed them to precisely cut the silk. Further research revealed that reducing the pulse strength would instead cause the spider silk to bulge or swell. This discovery allowed them to craft spider silk into complex shapes and designs, like a coiled spring or a twisted chain. They were also able to successfully weld the silk to glass and other materials.
While the research itself is fascinating, the possible applications are truly exciting. Researchers are now exploring whether these techniques may be used to create innovative products. One possibility is the creation of bandages that are incredibly strong and suited for use in places where they will become wet. Medical applications might include treatments to heal fractures or skin injuries.
Lasers are incredibly versatile precision instruments. Just like the research projects using lasers to manipulate spider silk, laser alignment tools can also do amazing things. There is simply no better way to precisely align pulleys or belts than with a laser alignment system.
Seiffert Industrial has been providing businesses like yours with the best available tools for 25 years. Contact us today at 800-856-0129 to learn more or to place your order.