Sunday, July 15, 2018

Natural Nanopillars: Cicada Wing

Sometimes it is useful to have a source of regular nano-structures for a variety of imaging and metrology tests. Dispersing structures can be difficult due to aggregation due to surface change or substrate charge. Luckily nature provides arrays of these on cicada wings. The natural nanopillars on cicada wings have a natural anti-microbial affect as micro-organisms are torn apart by these pillars.

In this image taken at lower beam energy (3 kV) using the through lens detector in field immersion a large field of regular nanopillars is seen at 30 kX magnification. The pillars have local order, falling into regular domains without long term order.

The second image taken at 300 kX shows the faceted structure of the nanopillars and confirms their diameter as less than 100 nm on average.

The cicada wing was pulled off a dead insect and coated with 4 nm of iridium to suppress charging without any additional sample preparation.

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