Nanostructured surfaces: bioinspiration for transparency, coloration and wettability

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Natural nanostructures rarely come with a single biological function to fulfil. Moreover, from a bio-inspiration perspective, it sounds attractive to develop multifunctional coatings, devices or sensors. Suppression of light reflection from body parts, such as the wings of insects, is useful for hiding from predators. The transparent parts of the wings of Cacostatia ossa (moth) inherit their antireflective property from non-close-packed nano-scale nipple arrays on both sides of the wings. Through modelling and optical simulations, we show that effective medium approaches, commonly used to characterize antireflection, slightly overestimate the reflectance with respect to detailed Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis calculation. Coloration due to light interference in nanostructure, on the other hand, sometimes comes with an additional, unexpected and maybe non-biologically significant function: hygrochromism, i.e. change of color with humidity. The male Hoplia coerulea (beetle), for instance, exhibits iridescent blue-violet color which turns to emerald green when the elytron is put in contact with water. Impregnation experiments with various liquids revealed intriguing color change dynamics which could be related to the wetting properties of porous chitinous cuticle. Super-hydrophobicity is another function of biological significance, which helps, for instance, insects to keep dry in humid environments. Through morphological, optical and contact angle measurements, we show the existence of entangled levels of functionality on the wings of Cicada orni, namely a superhydrophobic stage at the upper part of the nipple array corrugated surface and an antireflective stage and the lower part.
langue originaleAnglais
Pages (de - à)122-129
Nombre de pages8
journalMaterials Today Proceedings
Les DOIs
Etat de la publicationPublié - 29 déc. 2014
EvénementLiving light 2014 - Namur, Belgique
Durée: 10 avr. 201412 avr. 2014


  • Structural colors
  • antireflection coatings
  • hydrophobicity
  • optical sensors

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  • Projets


  • Morphologie - Imagerie

    Charles Nicaise (!!Manager) & Francesca Cecchet (!!Manager)

    Plateforme technologique Morphologie, imagerie

    Equipement/installations: Plateforme technolgique

  • Activités

    • 2 Participation à une conférence, un congrès

    Third International Conference on Advanced Complex Inorganic Nanomaterials

    Sébastien Mouchet (Poster)

    13 juil. 201517 juil. 2015

    Activité: Types de Participation ou d'organisation d'un événementParticipation à une conférence, un congrès

    Living light 2014

    Sébastien Mouchet (Poster)

    10 avr. 201412 avr. 2014

    Activité: Types de Participation ou d'organisation d'un événementParticipation à une conférence, un congrès

    Thèses de l'étudiant

    Mécanismes fondamentaux de la coloration structurale : addiction et induction de couleurs

    Author: Mouchet, S., 29 sept. 2015

    Superviseur: Deparis, O. (Promoteur), Su, B. L. (Jury), Lepere, M. (Président), Vukusic, P. (Personne externe) (Jury), Berthier, S. (Personne externe) (Jury) & Voué, M. (Personne externe) (Jury)

    Thèse de l'étudiant: Doc typesDocteur en Sciences

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