Synthetic gecko hairs, SEM

Synthetic gecko hairs, SEM

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This image is part of the feature Biomimetics

Credit: ANDRE GEIM/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Synthetic gecko hairs. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of synthetic gecko hairs (as seen from above). In 2000, a team in California discovered that geckos are equipped with billions of tiny hair-like structures (spatulae) on each toe. Intermolecular forces (van der Waals) are produced by the hairs, allowing geckos to hold onto surfaces. In 2003, Professor Geim's team at Manchester University produced a 'sticky' tape, which mimicks the action of spatulae. Plastic pillars, only two thousandths of a millimetre tall, are attached to a flexible base so that the 'hairs' come into contact with the smallest undulations.

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Keywords: 21st century, biological, biology, biomimetics, biotechnology, coloured, false-colour, false-coloured, hairs, many, materials science, microscopic, mimicking, mimicks, multiple, pillar, plastic pillars, scanning electron micrograph, scanning electron microscope, sem, spatulae, sticky tape, synthetic gecko hair, top view, top-view, van der waals forces

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