The marine sponge Monorhaphis chuni (M. Chuni) forms a glass filament with a perfect periodic arrangement of nanopores employing a similar method that is used for fabrication of man-made mesoporous nanomaterials
Materials made by man and those made by biological organisms often deal with similar synthesis challenges – occasionally converging on an analogous solution independently. One example is the giant glass rod that is used by the sea sponge M. chuni to anchor itself in marine environments. A collaborative effort by researchers from the Max Planck Institutes of Colloids and Interfaces and of Microstructure Physics has now uncovered and analysed the nanostructure of the filament passing through the centre of this giant glass rod. The researchers discovered that it is structured almost exactly like the nanoporous man-made nanomaterials, which are relevant for many applications in fields such as biomedicine, sensor technology and chemical catalysis.