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NanoPhotonics Centre

 
Pollia bunch

An overview of the group's research into biomimetics.

Biomimetics combines the study of natural materials with the adoption of design principles to improve what we can construct. We study the optical biomimetics of plants and insects, for intriguing photonic effects.

 

Butterflymultilayer structural colour in microdishes
This colourful butterfly combines green and blue reflectors on its wing scales using micron-scale hemispherical dishes coated with layers. We adopted this approach to make unusual stuctural colours from multilayers in microdishes.

 

Poliairidescent fruit
This fruit has a metallic blue/purple hue created from not from pigments by multilayers of cellulose in its surface layers. Even when dry and 70 years old, these fruit sparkle. The optical scattering inside such structures is highly complex, and we study how the structure has been optimised to give a cool blue.

 

Buttercupscatter and reflection of buttercups
We study how different colours of light are scattered from the petals of buttercups and show that they are optimised for the UV eyes of insects, not ourselves.

  Squidlearning from squids to make reflectin colours
Squids can use and change colours at will. Some of their tricks use a protein called reflectin which can stack into multilayers that reflect specific colours, a structural-based colour. We worked with the Cambridge iGEM team to express this protein in bacteria, and explore the photonic effects.

References

[3] “Pointillist structural colour in Pollia condensata fruit”, PNAS (2012)

[2] “Mimicry of Papilio blumei’s colourful wing scale structure”, Nature Nanotechnology 5, 511 (2010)

[1] “Directional Scattering from…: how the buttercup lights up your chin”, J.R.Soc.Interface (2011); DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2011.0759

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Latest news

Happy Birthday

21 March 2022

Happy birthday!! A suprise party for Jeremy with delicous vegan Cake! Thank you Sara and Marika for organising.

NanoPhotonics Christmas Party

16 December 2021

Many thanks to Chris and Jeremy for organising a very nice Christmas dinner at Jesus College. It was good to be able to see everyone again. Now we just need to figure out who gave which present to who :) Christmas_dinner_2021_2 Christmas_dinner_2021_3

Featured article in Nature Communications

30 November 2021

Our work on tracking the interactions between single molecules and gold atoms has been selected as Featured Article in Nature Communications. A great recognition of the hard work put in by Jack and Tamás! Article available here . single_molecule_gold_Atom.gif