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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

NanoPhotonics Centre visited by 533 high school students

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Why do grapes explode in a microwave oven? How does nanostructured chocolate look like? What do nanoparticles on a mirror and Homer Simpson have in common? As part of Physics at Work 2022 , 36 groups of high school students visited our exhibit about plasmonics and nano-optics. Read more here !

IOP news article about recent Sciences Advances paper

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A news article has been written about the recent Sciences Advances paper ' Optical suppression of energy barriers in single molecule-metal binding ' in the IOP optics and photonics research update. Read the article here !

Article featured in Nature Communications Editors’ Highlights

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The recent article 'Hollow-core optical fibre sensors for operando Raman spectroscopy investigation of Li-ion battery liquid electrolytes' has been selected as a featured article in the Nature Communications Editor's highlights. Congratulations to Ermanno and Tijmen! The Editor's highlights can be seen here: https://www...