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A rainbow for the palm of your hand
Date:2/23/2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo engineers have developed a one-step, low-cost method to fabricate a polymer with extraordinary properties: When viewed from a single perspective, the polymer is rainbow-colored, reflecting many different wavelengths of light.

Used as a filter for light, this material could form the basis of handheld multispectral imaging devices that identify the "true color" of objects examined. An image of the material is available here: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/13214.

"Such portable technology could have applications in a wide range of fields, from home improvement, like matching paint colors, to biomedical imaging, including analyzing colors in medical images to detect disease," said UB Vice President for Research and Economic Development Alexander N. Cartwright, one of the UB researchers who led the study.

The ease of producing the polymer could make it feasible to develop small devices that connect with cell phones to conduct multispectral imaging, said Qiaoqiang Gan, a UB assistant professor of electrical engineering and another member of the research team.

"Our method is pretty low-cost, and because of this and the potential cell phone applications, we feel there is a huge market for improving clinical imaging in developing countries," Gan said.

Because the colors of the rainbow filter are produced as a result of the filter's surface geometry, and not by some kind of pigment, the colors won't fade over time. (It's the same principle that gives color to the wings of butterflies and feather of peacocks.)

Cartwright and Gan's team reported on their polymer fabrication technique online Feb. 22 in Advanced Materials, an academic journal. Coauthors on the study also include UB students Ke Liu and Huina Xu and UB research scientist Haifeng Hu. An abstract is available here: http://bit.ly/zDK42U.


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Contact: Charlotte Hsu
chsu22@buffalo.edu
716-645-4655
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert  

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