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Scattering and tapping on soft-hard-open nuts

Project Leader
Gierlinger Notburga, Project Leader
Horizon 2020 - Excellent Science - ERC Consolidator Grant (CoG)
Type of Research
Basic Research

Further information:

Mayer Konrad, Project Staff
Bock Peter, Project Staff
Felhofer Martin, Project Staff (bis 30.06.2022)
Leiter Lena Maria, Project Staff
Xiao Nannan, Project Staff
Golebiewska Violetta, Project Staff (bis 31.12.2017)
Kaufmann Lilian Mira, Project Staff (bis 28.02.2022)
Antreich Sebastian Johannes, Project Staff
Singh Adya Prasad, Project Staff (bis 30.11.2019)
Hoeck Flavio, Project Staff (bis 30.09.2019)
Huss Jessica, Project Staff
Bachmayr Jakob, Project Staff (bis 30.06.2021)
Niedermeier Martin, Project Staff (bis 31.10.2020)
Korp Nora, Project Staff
Bock Julia, Project Staff (bis 31.08.2022)
BOKU Research Units
Department of Nanobiotechnology (DNBT)
Institute of Biophysik
Funded by
Commission of the European Communities, Rue de la Loi, Brussels, European Union
Seeds enclosed in maternal tissue are an important evolutionary plant development as they protect the embryo in many different environments. The protecting coverings are very heterogeneous in structure and origin due to different seed dispersal strategies and environments designed for. The ones having hard outer coverings are commonly called nuts and their shells have recently become of interest for biomimetic research as they represent hard and tough lightweight structures with biological and environmental resistance.
Biological materials are optimized at numerous length scales. To unravel the design principles on the micro- and nano scale and their assembly are a big challenge in biomimetic research. Thus the objectives of this project are threefold: 1) develop in-situ methods for in-depth characterization at the micro- and nano level, 2) reveal the heterogeneity and common design principles by investigating different species and 3) follow development (soft), maturation (hard) and germination (open).
By measuring the inelastic scattering of laser light (RAMAN microscopy), tapping with a tip (Atomic force microscopy AFM, pulsed force mode) and combining both (Scanning near field optical microscopy-SNOM, Tip enhanced Raman spectroscopy-TERS) sophisticated applications for imaging natural packaging structures will be developed. This will enable us to gain new insights into micro- and nanochemistry as well as nanomechanics in the context of tissue and cell organization. Furthermore in-depth knowledge on the developmental processes of cell assembly, maturation and germination will be obtained. This will lead to a better understanding of the underlying design principles, which is important in order to extract structure-function relationships and identify features that contribute e.g. to the high strength and cracking resistance and longevity. Such information is important for biology (agriculture) and will give new input in intelligent biomimetic material design.

Experimental physics; Materials chemistry; Natural product chemistry; Biophysics; Botany; Ultrastructure research;
biomimetic material design; microtomy; nut shells; raman-microscopy; Atomic force microscopy;

Gierlinger, N (2019): The puzzle of the walnut shells: curvature for interlocking.

Curvature & Biology Workshop, FEB 6-8, 2019, Salzburg, AUSTRIA

Gierlinger, N (2019): Raman imaging of plant cell walls: where we stand and how to move forward.

2nd International Plant Spectroscopy Conference, MAR 24-28, 2019, Berlin, GERMANY

Gierlinger, N (2019): Potential and challenges of Confocal Raman and correlative Imaging in Plant Sciences.

Lunch & Lern (Witec), 2nd International Plant Spectroscopy Conference, MAR 24-28, 2019, Berlin, GERMANY

Gierlinger, N (2019): Raman-Mikroskopie an Pflanzenzellen: Chemische Bilder basierend auf Molekülschwingungen.

Symposium “Moderne bildgebende Verfahren”, OCT 1, 2019, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW) Vienna, AUSTRIA

Gierlinger, N (2019): Tip in – light on: Insights into plant cell walls on the micro and nanolevel.

Wood Wallenberg Center, FEB 11, 2019, Stockholm, SWEDEN

Gierlinger, N (2018): Following molecules in context with micro- and nanostructure and their changes upon laser irradiation.

Wood Nanotechnology conference, SEPT 2-5, 2018, Ascona, SWITZERLAND

Gierlinger, N (2017): Raman scattering and scanning probe approaches on biological materials: principles & prospects.

Seminar at the Institut für Physik, DEZ 19, 2017, MU Leoben, AUSTRIA

Gierlinger, N (2017): Raman imaging and Fingerprints of plant cell walls: principles & prospects.

Seminar at the DAGZ, DEZ 12, 2017, Vienna, Austria

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