Orientational mapping augmented sub-wavelength hyper-spectral imaging of silk
journal contributionposted on 2017-08-07, 00:00 authored by Meguya Ryu, Armandas Balčytis, Xuewen Wang, Jitraporn Vongsvivut, Yuta Hikima, Jingliang LiJingliang Li, Mark J Tobin, Saulius Juodkazis, Junko Morikawa
Molecular alignment underpins optical, mechanical, and thermal properties of materials, however, its direct measurement from volumes with micrometer dimensions is not accessible, especially, for structurally complex bio-materials. How the molecular alignment is linked to extraordinary properties of silk and its amorphous-crystalline composition has to be accessed by a direct measurement from a single silk fiber. Here, we show orientation mapping of the internal silk fiber structure via polarisation-dependent IR absorbance at high spatial resolution of 4.2 μm and 1.9 μm in a hyper-spectral IR imaging by attenuated total reflection using synchrotron radiation in the spectral fingerprint region around 6 μm wavelength. Free-standing longitudinal micro-slices of silk fibers, thinner than the fiber cross section, were prepared by microtome for the four polarization method to directly measure the orientational sensitivity of absorbance in the molecular fingerprint spectral window of the amide bands of β-sheet polypeptides of silk. Microtomed lateral slices of silk fibers, which may avoid possible artefacts that affect spectroscopic measurements with fibers of an elliptical cross sections were used in the study. Amorphisation of silk by ultra-short laser single-pulse exposure is demonstrated.