Biomimetic photonics

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Jan 31, 2019 - The Journal of Optics Special Issue on Biomimetic Photonics discusses a few .... mesoporous network metamaterials ACS Photonics 5 2120–8.

Journal of Optics


Biomimetic photonics To cite this article: Svetlana V Boriskina et al 2019 J. Opt. 21 030201

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Journal of Optics J. Opt. 21 (2019) 030201 (4pp)


Biomimetic photonics 1

Svetlana V Boriskina , 2 Viktoria Greanya and 3 Kenny Weir 1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA, United States of America 2 Morpho Sciences, LLC, VA, United States of America 3 Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom E-mail: [email protected]

(Some figures may appear in colour only in the online journal)


The world is filled with nature-designed nanoscale materials for optical communications, sensing, thermoregulation, and camouflaging [1–4]. After studying these natural wonders for centuries, humans have recently started replicating and improving them by using nano-technology [5, 6]. The nature-inspired biomimetic technologies span a wide range of applications, including the structural color and polarization formation via selective light scattering from micro- and nano-structured materials [7–11], efficient light anti-reflectance and absorptance by nanopatterned surfaces [12], passive temperature regulation via radiative cooling through the atmospheric transparency window [13–23], adaptive visual camouflaging [24, 25], jamming-avoiding communication links [3], optical sensing [26–30], and so much more. The Journal of Optics Special Issue on Biomimetic Photonics discusses a few new approaches to converting natural optical solutions into useful nanotechnologies. The paper by Dinneen et al reports on the iterative correction approach to determine the refractive index of aerosols composed of pigments extracted from chromatophores of cephalopods such as the one shown in figure 1(a) [32]. These pigments play an important role in the dermal coloration, and offer potential for applications in scalable easy-to-apply spray-on-coatings. The work done by Chan et al focuses on the development of pitch-black surfaces, which exhibit efficient anti-reflection characteristics over a broad range of frequencies [33]. The anti-reflective structures developed by Chan and colleagues are inspired by the intricate grade-index nano-structure found in the eye of a moth (see figure 1(b)). Mendoza-Galván et al engineered selective Bragg reflection from chiral freestanding films made of nanocrystalline cellulose [34]. Selective Bragg reflection phenomenon can be commonly observed in appearance of some beetles (figure 1(c)), which selectively reflect unpolarized incident light with the same handedness as the chiral structure of the beetle skin, producing bright colors. The researchers imposed the chiral structure into their films through slow evaporation of aqueous cellulose in a nematic chiral liquid crystal phase. Potyrailo and colleagues report on the development and demonstration of multivariable photonic sensors, whose design was inspired by the structure of the Morpho butterfly scales (figure 1(d)) [35]. The researchers used their bio-inspired materials as gas sensors for detection of exemplary noncondensable gases such as H2, CO, and CO2. Finally, a review article by McDougal and colleagues examines and compares a variety of natural and synthetic fabrication strategies that yield nano-engineered materials with emergent functional properties. This comprehensive study paves the way to better understand and harness performance of micro- and nano-scaled materials as well as to develop new processes to fabricate them with cost efficiency and at industrial scales [36]. Certain images in this publication have been obtained by the author(s) from the Wikipedia/Wikimedia website, where they were made available under a Creative Commons licence or stated to be in the public domain. Please see individual figure captions in this publication for details. To the extent that the law allows, IOP Publishing disclaim any liability that any person may suffer as a result 1

© 2019 IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK

J. Opt. 21 (2019) 030201


Figure 1. (a) Longfin inshore squid (Loligo pealeii), one of many types of squid capable of

manipulating their color to vary in color from a deep red to a soft pink. (b) Smerinthus ocellata (Sphingidae) (eyed hawk moth), one of many moth species whose eyes’ nanoscale gradient index structure allows for efficient anti-reflectance with large field of view and bandwidth. (c) Jewel scarab (Chrysina gloriosa) is an example of a beetle specie whose cuticles reflect near circular left-handed polarized light in the visible range. (d) Blue morpho butterfly (Morpho achilles) reflects visible light selectively owing to its resonant scattering of the periodic arrangement of micro-scale lamellae, ribs, and ridges within its wings. Image credits: (a) Reproduced from wiki/File:Loligo_pealeii.jpg. Image stated to be in the public domain. (b) This Smerinthus ocellata (Sphingidae) (eyed hawk moth) — (imago), Gent, Belgium’ image has been obtained by the author (s) from the Wikimedia website where it was made available by BartBotje under a CC BY 3.0 licence. It is included in this article on that basis. It is attributed to Dimitry De Wilde. (c) Reproduced with permission from [31], © AAAS. (d) This ‘Blue Morpho butterfly at Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory, 2010 E’ image has been obtained by the author(s) from the Wikimedia website where it was made available by Rlevse under a CC BY-SA 3.0 licence. It is included within this article on that basis. It is attributed to Rlevse.

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ORCID iDs Svetlana V Boriskina Kenny Weir

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J. Opt. 21 (2019) 030201


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