Nanoscale SPM Characterisation of Nacre Argonite Plates and Synthetic Human Amyloid Fibres

I. Grishin, C. Tinker, D. Allsop, A. Robson, O.V. Kolosov
Lancaster University, UK

Keywords: nacre, amyloid fibrils, SPM, ultrasonic force microscopy, ion beam

Summary:

Nacre exhibits structural robustness despite the brittle nature of its constituents. A detailed understanding of its fabrication principles developed in nature can lead to new ideas in material design and synthesis. But due to this lamellar structure comprised of hard, brittle and soft organic components, investigation of Nacre is a nontrivial task. In this study Ion Beam Milling was implemented in order to produce a highly flat and large section, suitable for a SPM study of mechanical properties and morphology of the constituents and their interfaces, which has been carried out with Ultrasonic Force Microscopy to provide true nanoscale characterisation. The misfolding of proteins in the human body brings forth the formation of Amyloids. These fibrous structures have been associated with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. The triggering of this misfolding is yet to be understood. A SPM study carried out on synthetic human amyloid fibres in air and under liquid brings fourth new structural details.