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Synthetic gecko hairs, SEM

Synthetic gecko hairs, SEM

T742/0083

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Credit

ANDRE GEIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANDRE GEIM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Synthetic gecko hairs. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of synthetic gecko hairs. 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 climb. In 2003, Professor Geim's team at Manchester University produced a 'sticky' tape, which mimicks the action of spatulae. Plastic pillars, only two thousandth of a millimetre tall, are attached to a flexible base so that the 'hairs' come into contact with the smallest undulations. A 0.5 centimetre square piece is capable of supporting 100 grams or more.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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