Nav: Home

Researchers replicate nature's ability to reflect light to develop innovative ma

February 17, 2017

Researchers from the University of Surrey have developed an innovative new technique to mimic one of nature's greatest achievements -- natural structural colour.

Following in depth research to explain the physics behind photonic band gap in structured photonic materials, a new method has been devised to characterise the internal structures of natural materials and replicate their interaction with light using 3D printing of ceramics. The internal structure of materials and their local-self uniformity dictates their ability to diffuse absorb, reflect and transmit light.

During this study researchers found a direct relationship between the uniformity of the internal structure (at wavelength scales) and its ability to block certain wavelengths in natural materials. Armed with this knowledge researchers developed a new mathematical metric to measure which photonic structures best control the propagation of light enabling the design of new materials with different functionalities dependant on need.

Testing the theory, researchers developed the first ever amorphous gyroid (triamond) structure with band gaps, which is similar to the structuring found in some butterfly wings, via a 3D ceramic printer. Similarly to structures found in nature these structures can reflect and absorb light, sound and heat wave lengths leading the way for the creation of heat-rejecting window films and paints to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and vehicles.

Lead author Dr Marian Florescu from the University of Surrey said: "It is truly amazing that what we thought was an artificial design could naturally be present in nature.

"This discovery will impact how we design materials in the future to manipulate their interaction with light, heat and sound."

This study has today been published in the Nature Journal.
-end-


University of Surrey

Related Light Articles:

Analysis sheds light on how metaphors like 'sheds light' evolved
In the first large-scale study of its kind, researchers from Lehigh University and University of California, Berkeley analyzed 5,000 English-language metaphorical mapping records over the last 1100 years and found the evolution of word meaning to be highly systematic -- following predictable patterns.
A stream of superfluid light
Scientists have known for centuries that light is composed of waves.
No green light for latest traffic light app following expert evaluation
Psychologist Dr Kyle Wilson takes a 'human look' at a new vehicle traffic light app ahead of plans to introduce similar devices into 'connected vehicles'
Let there be light
Graphene Flagship research demonstrates large scale, fully integrable arrays of single photon quantum dots in layered materials, which may lead to hybrid on-chip photonics devices for networks and sensing.
Guiding light
Biologists discover an unexpected role for a light-sensitive receptor protein in the central brain that regulates circadian rhythms.
Red light, green light invention prevents work interruptions
A UBC computer scientist has invented a unique desk light that automatically switches from green to red when you are 'in the zone' and shouldn't be disturbed by colleagues.
Shedding light on the absorption of light by titanium dioxide
EPFL scientists have uncovered the hidden properties of titanium dioxide, one of the most promising materials for light-conversion technology.
A nano-roundabout for light
At TU Wien, it was possible to create a nanoscale optical element that regulates the flow of light particles at the intersection of two glass fibers like a roundabout.
Discovery: A new form of light
Scientists have discovered a new method to create fluorescent light that may have promising applications from LEDs to medical imaging.
How to control polarization of light
A group of physicists from the Lomonosov Moscow State University and Toyohashi University of Technology (Japan) has developed a method of ultrafast control of the light's polarization.

Related Light Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...