"Extending the limit of the classical microscope's resolution has been the holy grail of microscopy for over a century. Physical laws of light make it impossible to view objects smaller than 200nm – the smallest size of bacteria – using a normal microscope alone. However, superlenses that enable us to see beyond the current magnification have been the goal since the turn of the millennium.
After a team at Bangor University's School of Electronic Engineering used a nanobead-derived superlens to break the perceived resolution barrier, the same team has achieved another world first. The team, led by Dr Zengbo Wang, and in colloboration with Professor Fritz Vollrath's silk group at Oxford University's Department of Zoology, has used a naturally occurring material – dragline silk of the golden web spider – as an additional superlens, applied to the surface of the material to be viewed, that provides an additional 2-3 times magnification. This is the first time that a naturally occurring biological material has been used as a superlens."