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Biomimicry
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New Nano Materials Inspired by Bird Feathers Play with Light to Create Color

New Nano Materials Inspired by Bird Feathers Play with Light to Create Color | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Inspired by the way iridescent bird feathers play with light, scientists have created thin films of material in a wide range of pure colors — from red to green — with hues determined by physical structure rather than pigments.

Structural color arises from the interaction of light with materials that have patterns on a minute scale, which bend and reflect light to amplify some wavelengths and dampen others. Melanosomes, tiny packets of melanin found in the feathers, skin and fur of many animals, can produce structural color when packed into solid layers, as they are in the feathers of some birds. 

“We synthesized and assembled nanoparticles of a synthetic version of melanin to mimic the natural structures found in bird feathers,” said Nathan Gianneschi, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. “We want to understand how nature uses materials like this, then to develop function that goes beyond what is possible in nature."

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Giant Clams' Shiny Shells May Inspire Solar Power Tech

Giant Clams' Shiny Shells May Inspire Solar Power Tech | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Brilliant shades of blue and aqua coat the iridescent lips of giant clams, but these shiny cells aren't just for show, new research finds. The iridescent sheen directs beams of sunlight into the interior of the clam, providing light for algae housed inside. [...] The giant clams' colorful and sparkly sheen may one day inspire new forms of clean technology, the researchers said. For instance, traditional solar cells work well in direct sunlight, but not when they get too hot. With the clam's design, a reflective sheen could help solar cells stay cool even when they're exposed to intense sunlight,.."


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​In the Future, Your City Could Change Colors Like an Octopus

​In the Future, Your City Could Change Colors Like an Octopus | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Most of us were born and will die a certain color, but octopuses are masters of their hue, changing from transparent to shades of red, pink, purple and blue by stretching and relaxing their skin. If we could unlock their secret and wrap our buildings in octopus skin, then city skylines might shimmer a spectrum of colors and opacities as the sun waxed and waned."

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Butterfly-Wing Wafers to Clad Iridescent Buildings

Butterfly-Wing Wafers to Clad Iridescent Buildings | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

Now no one can say butterflies are all style and no substance. This might look like a pretty lily pad but it is actually a wafer created with lasers to mimic the iridescent colours of a butterfly's wings. For extra credit, Shu Yang at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who led the project, also made the wafer water-repellent - another property of butterflies' wings, which helps them fly through rain.

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