Navigation Links
Butterfly wings inspire new technologies: from fabrics and cosmetics to sensors
Date:9/9/2013

A new study has revealed that the stunning iridescent wings of the tropical blue Morpho butterfly could expand the range of innovative technologies. Scientific lessons learnt from these butterflies have already inspired designs of new displays, fabrics and cosmetics.

Now research by the University of Exeter, in collaboration with General Electric (GE) Global Research Centre, University at Albany and Air Force Research Laboratory, and funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has discovered that the physical structure and surface chemistry of the Morpho butterfly's wings provides surprising properties that could offer a variety of applications ranging from photonic security tags to self cleaning surfaces and protective clothing and to industrial sensors.

Tiny tree-like nanostructures on the scales of Morpho wings are known to be responsible for the butterfly's brilliant metallic blue iridescence. The study, published in the journal PNAS, found that vapour molecules adhere differently to the tops of these structures than to the bottom. This selective response to vapour molecules is the key to the range of possible bio-inspired technological applications.

Dr Radislav Potyrailo, from GE, who is the Principal Investigator on this DARPA Program, said: "Our interdisciplinary team of physicists, chemists, biologist, and materials scientists was able to unveil the existence of surface polarity gradient on iridescent Morpho butterfly scales. This discovery further allowed us to bring a multivariable perspective for vapour sensing, where selectivity is achieved within a single chemically graded nanostructured sensing unit, rather than from an array of separate sensors".

Professor Pete Vukusic from the University of Exeter said: "Understanding iridescence in butterflies and moths has revolutionised our knowledge of natural photonics. By using design ideas from nature we are able to work towards the development of applications in a range of different technologies. In this study the team discovered a new mechanism in photonic vapour sensing that demonstrates combined physical and chemical effects on the nanoscale."

Although not essential for butterfly survival, this unique property of selective gas adsorption is a by-product of the process of butterfly wing scale development.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jo Bowler
j.bowler@exeter.ac.uk
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. An early spring drives butterfly population declines
2. UK butterfly populations threatened by extreme drought and landscape fragmentation
3. Flapping protective wings increase lift
4. Study shows how one insect got its wings
5. New book inspires children to protect dugongs
6. Human eye inspires clog-free ink jet printer invented by MU researcher
7. Frog calls inspire a new algorithm for wireless networks
8. Rice receives $1 million INSPIRE award from National Science Foundation
9. Origami inspires research into materials that self-assemble when exposed to light
10. Inspired: Canada funds 68 bold, inventive ways to improve health, save lives in developing countries
11. University of Tennessee engineering professor looks to whirligig beetle for bio-inspired robots
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2017)... N.J. , May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, ... provider of online age and identity verification solutions, announced ... K(NO)W Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May 17, ... Regan Building and International Trade Center. ... the globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital world, ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... RAM Group , Singaporean based ... in biometric authentication based on a novel  ... to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on ... Ram Group and its partners. This sensor will have ... and security. Ram Group is a next generation ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... York , April 19, 2017 ... as its vendor landscape is marked by the presence ... market is however held by five major players - ... Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the ... the leading companies in the global military biometrics market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The ... prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical ... during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... , ... At its national board meeting in North Carolina, ARCS® Foundation ... of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall ... 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... With ... microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now expanding into Analytical Services. ... range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. Services will leverage techniques ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... The HealthTech Venture Network (HTVN) ... their fourth annual Conference where founders, investors, innovative practitioners and collaborators are invited ... competition showcasing early stage digital health and med tech companies. , This day-long ...
Breaking Biology Technology: