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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Regenerated spider silk as a new biomaterial for microelectro-mechanical systems ((MEMS) applications Bai, Jiamei


The objective of this research is to characterize properties of spider silk in a thin film form and apply it as a new biomaterial for MEMS devices. This research represents a relatively new area of study. Most research to date on spider silk has focused on its fiber form, thus there is a limited understanding of this silk as a film. Furthermore, using spider silk for MEMS applications has never before been realized. In this study, spider silk was manipulated into a solution and spin coated onto a silicon substrate to form a thin film. A microfabrication technique was then developed to create a free standing microbridge structure. Mechanical properties of the film were obtained by both nanoindenting the film on silicon substrate, and by fracture testing of the microbridge. Once these mechanical properties were obtained, the magnetic properties were added to the spider silk film to add more hnctionality to the material. This was done by blending the film with ferromagnetic materials such as Ni and Fe. First, micron sized Ni particles were mixed into the spider silk solution. Using the microfabrication technique developed earlier in this research, cantilever beam were formed from the Ni spider silk material. Studying the magnetic properties of these cantilever beams showed that these beams are susceptible to external magnetic field. Static and dynamic testing of the cantilever beam was performed. Second, iron pentacarbonyl was mixed with spider silk solution.

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