Artificial bug eyes

January 09, 2019

Single lens eyes, like those in humans and many other animals, can create sharp images, but the compound eyes of insects and crustaceans have an edge when it comes to peripheral vision, light sensitivity and motion detection. That's why scientists are developing artificial compound eyes to give sight to autonomous vehicles and robots, among other applications. Now, a report in ACS Nano describes the preparation of bioinspired artificial compound eyes using a simple low-cost approach.

Compound eyes are made up of tiny independent repeating visual receptors, called ommatidia, each consisting of a lens, cornea and photoreceptor cells. Some insects have thousands of units per eye; creatures with more ommatidia have increased visual resolution. Attempts to create artificial compound eyes in the lab are often limited by cost, tend to be large and sometimes include only a fraction of the ommatidia and nanostructures typical of natural compound eyes. Some groups are using lasers and nanotechnology to generate artificial bug eyes in bulk, but the structures tend to lack uniformity and are often distorted, which compromises sight. To make artificial insect eyes with improved visual properties, Wenjun Wang and colleagues developed a new strategy with improved structural homogeneity.

As a first step, the researchers shot a laser through a double layer of acrylic glass, focusing on the lower layer. The laser caused the lower layer to swell, creating a convex dome shape. The researchers created an array of these tiny lenses that could themselves be bent along a curved structure to create the artificial eye. Then, through several steps, the researchers grew nanostructures on top of the convex glass domes that, up close, resemble a shag carpet. The nanostructures endowed the microlenses with desirable antireflective and water-repellent properties.
-end-
The authors acknowledge funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, National Key Research and Development Program of China, and Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University.

The paper's abstract will be available on January 9, 2019, at 8 a.m. Eastern time here: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsnano.8b04047

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Follow us: Twitter | Facebook

American Chemical Society

Related Insects Articles from Brightsurf:

High temperatures threaten the survival of insects
Insects have difficulties handling the higher temperatures brought on by climate change, and might risk overheating.

Food allergy caused by insects?
Can edible insects trigger allergies? In September 2020, the BfR launched a new joint research project to protect consumers from potential allergic reactions: Allergen-Pro.

A robot to track and film flying insects
French scientists have developed the first cable-driven robot that can follow and interact with free-flying insects.

Dramatic loss of food plants for insects
Just a few weeks ago, everyone was talking about plummeting insect numbers.

The brains of shrimps and insects are more alike than we thought
Crustaceans share a brain structure known to be crucial for learning and memory in insects, a University of Arizona-led research team discovered.

Freshwater insects recover while spiders decline in UK
Many insects, mosses and lichens in the UK are bucking the trend of biodiversity loss, according to a comprehensive analysis of over 5,000 species led by UCL and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), and published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Hundreds of novel viruses discovered in insects
New viruses which cause diseases often come from animals. Well-known examples of this are the Zika virus transmitted by mosquitoes, bird flu viruses, as well as the MERS virus which is associated with camels.

Tiny insects become 'visible' to bats when they swarm
Small insects that would normally be undetectable to bats using echolocation suddenly become detectable when they occur in large swarms.

Helpful insects and landscape changes
We might not notice them, but the crops farmers grow are protected by scores of tiny invertebrate bodyguards.

New information on tropical parasitoid insects revealed
The diversity and ecology of African parasitoid wasps was studied for over a year during a project run by the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku in Finland.

Read More: Insects News and Insects Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.