Aspects of X-ray diffraction on single spider fibers

Int J Biol Macromol. Mar-Apr 1999;24(2-3):179-86. doi: 10.1016/s0141-8130(98)00084-1.


Diffraction patterns of silk from several spider species have been obtained by synchrotron radiation using a beam size > or = 10 microm. Single fiber diffraction patterns were obtained for fiber diameters down to a few microns. Diffraction patterns recorded with a 10 microm wide X-ray beam displayed fiber texture. The presence of two fractions of different crystallinity was confirmed for a single Nephila clavipes fiber. The orientation distribution of the polymer chains of the crystalline fraction along the fiber axis was found to be about 23 degrees full-width at half maximum (fwhm). The azimuthal spread of the short-range order fraction was about 86 degrees fwhm.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry*
  • Normal Distribution
  • Protein Conformation
  • Silk
  • Spiders / chemistry*
  • X-Ray Diffraction / instrumentation*
  • X-Ray Diffraction / methods*


  • Insect Proteins
  • Silk