In addition to their variety of shapes, diatoms are characterized by an extremely interesting and complex shell structure. The shells consist mainly of silicate. The video shows a detailed image of the alga Actinoptychus. By prior staining, even the smallest structures of the silicate shell can be visualized with the LSCM (Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope).

In these silicate structures, various biomolecules are additionally embedded as fiber reinforcements. The exact composition, as well as the arrangement of the fibers - both of which are of central importance for determining the overriding material properties - are largely unknown to date. With the aid of microscopic analyses, material investigations and stress tests, these unknown parameters are to be determined.  In addition to gaining knowledge for basic research, these results are also to be transferred to technical applications.