In Situ Manipulation and Micromechanical Characterization of Diatom Frustule Constituents Using Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy

Mohammad Soleimani, Lambèrt C.A. van Breemen, Sai P. Maddala, Rick R.M. Joosten, Hanglong Wu, Ingeborg Schreur-Piet, Rolf A.T.M. van Benthem (Corresponding author), Heiner Friedrich (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Biocomposite structures are difficult to characterize by bulk approaches due to their morphological complexity and compositional heterogeneity. Therefore, a versatile method is required to assess, for example, the mechanical properties of geometrically simple parts of biocomposites at the relevant length scales. Here, it is demonstrated how a combination of Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM) and micromanipulators can be used to isolate, transfer, and determine the mechanical properties of frustule constituents of diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana (T.p.). Specifically, two parts of the diatom frustule, girdle bands and valves, are separated by FIB milling and manipulated using a sharp tungsten tip without compromising their physical or chemical integrity. In situ mechanical studies on isolated girdle bands combined with Finite Element Method (FEM) simulations, enables the quantitative assessment of the Young's modulus of this biosilica; E = 40.0 GPa. In addition, the mechanical strength of isolated valves could be measured by transferring and mounting them on top of premilled holes in the sample support. This approach may be extended to any hierarchical biocomposite material, regardless of its chemical composition, to isolate, transfer, and investigate the mechanical properties of selected constituents or specific regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100638
Number of pages10
JournalSmall Methods
Volume5
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • biosilica
  • diatom frustule
  • hybrid materials
  • in situ deformation
  • micromanipulation

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