Researchers use nanoscale 3D printing to recreate 'structural colors' of blue tarantula and peacock | 11/24/2016 | Staff
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A team of researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology has found a way to replicate the "structural colors" of blue tarantulas and peacocks using overlapping, 3D printed nanostructures that bend light to create dynamic color effects. The technology could eventually help to replace toxic pigments in packaging, industrial applications, and even cosmetics.

Structural coloration, different to pigment coloration, is the production of color through microscopically "structured" surfaces that interfere with natural light. Peacock feathers, for example, are actually of a brown pigment, but the patterns in their fine ridges make them reflect vivid blue and green. When produced using a new 3D printing method, structural colors appear more vibrant and last longer than traditional pigments, while also having the advantage of non-toxicity.

Fascinating - Effect - Colors - Ability - Hue

One fascinating yet often undesirable effect of structural colors is their ability to change hue and iridescence depending on the viewing angle, as with the underside of a CD. Manufacturers have frequently sought to minimize this effect in order to produce fixed colors, often unsuccessfully. In nature, however, the notoriously aggressive blue tarantula (as well as more sedate peacocks and kingfishers) can manage that feat effortlessly, and their incredible physiology has helped a group of Karlsruhe researchers to understand the secret to fixed structural colors. The researchers concentrated on the tarantula, and found that hairs on its body formed flower-like, multi-layered structures.

The team analyzed the reflective behavior of the spider’s structural color, before replicating the hairs with a nanoscale 3D printer. Not content to simply copy the blue tarantula’s color, however, Radwunal Hasan Siddique's team also wanted to find a 3D printable solution that could be made commercially viable across the whole color spectrum. Working with teams in Belgium and the USA, the scientists at KIT refined a model for producing any chosen structural color that is consistent through...
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