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 picture of the alga Actinoptychus. By prior coloration even 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 fibre reinforcements. The exact composition as well as the arrangement of the fibers - both of central importance for the determination of the superordinate material properties - are largely unknown so far. With the help 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.