Fibre-optical features of a glass sponge

Some superior technological secrets have come to light from a deep-sea organism.


Modern technology cannot yet compete with some of the sophisticated optical systems possessed by biological organisms1,2,3. Here we show that the spicules of the deep-sea 'glass' sponge Euplectella have remarkable fibre-optical properties, which are surprisingly similar to those of commercial telecommunication fibres — except that the spicules themselves are formed under normal ambient conditions and have some technological advantages over man-made versions.

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Figure 1: Structure and fibre-optical properties of spicules in the sponge Euplectella.


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Correspondence to Joanna Aizenberg.

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Sundar, V., Yablon, A., Grazul, J. et al. Fibre-optical features of a glass sponge. Nature 424, 899–900 (2003).

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