Extending the limit of a classical microscope’s resolution has been the ‘El Dorado’ or ‘Holy Grail’ of microscopy for over a century.
Physical laws of light make it impossible to view objects smaller than 200 nm (0.0002mm) – the smallest size of bacteria, using a normal microscope alone.
But superlenses which can let us see beyond the current magnification have been the goal since the turn of the millennium.
Now a team from Bangor and Oxford Universities have applied spider-silk to the surface of the material to be viewed, to provide two to three 3 times more magnification.
They say it's the first time that a naturally occurring biological material has been used as a superlens.