Researchers find a cheap, new way to make structural color

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Researchers find a cheap, new way to make structural color

Related tags: American chemical society, Color

The shimmering shifting hues of insects come not from pigment but from carefully arranged particles. And new scientific research, documented in an article published by the American Chemical Society, suggests that the nanotech to recreate such color is not only within reach but is also commercially scalable.

Geon Hwee Kim and Geunbae Lim from the department of mechanical engineering at Pohang University of Science and Technology, and Taechang An from the department of mechanical design engineering at Andong National University recently published their work in the American Chemical Society’s journal of Applied Materials & Interfaces. The Korean scientists’ research article is entitled, Bioinspired Structural Colors Fabricated with ZnO Quasi-Ordered Nanostructures.

In it, they outline how lab-fabricated zinc oxide nanostructures can replicate the structural color changing effect found in beetles.

What’s cool

"The shells, or exoskeletons, of beetles are covered with stacks of crystalline-like shapes that scatter light and produce dazzling colors,” ​explains the American Chemical Society in a media release about the newly published research.

The ACS goes on to note that “in some cases, these colors can change with just a slight shift of the viewing angle. Known as structural colors, scientists have long been interested in replicating them for use in paints, dyes, cosmetics and other products.”

What’s costly

Structural color, as synthesized in a lab, has been expensive to make and not very flexible. As the ACS describes it, “once they are attached to a surface, it is hard to modify them.”

These are the challenges that Kim, Lin, and An set out to address. And they certainly aren’t the first. Scientists at L’Oréal have been working at scalable structural color for some time, as this Cosmetics Design article​ from April notes. And another team of researchers boasted having found a commercially scalable way to mimic structural color in 2015, as discussed in this CD Buzz video news segment from Cosmetics Design​.

What’s new

Kim, Lin, and An  have documented a “method [that] combines the advantages of top–down and bottom–up synthetic approaches in that the structural color can be continuously modified once fabricated,”​ the team explains in the article abstract.

Through hydrothermal growth, the team created zinc oxide nanostructures in water that was between 40 degrees Celsius and 80 degrees Celsius. It was, according to the ACS release, quick and easy. And, “the method also allowed them to better control the size and spacing of the nanostructures.”

In the abstract of their published article, Kim, Lin, and An explain further, writing, “this fabricated nanostructure has a thickness on the order of 103 nm and a diameter on the order of 102 nm. The thickness and diameter increase in proportion with the synthesis time….[and] the shape of the nanostructure can be easily tuned by simply adjusting the synthesis and etching times.”

Related news

Related products

show more

Uncover the secrets behind Rockstar CFOs

Uncover the secrets behind Rockstar CFOs

Oracle NetSuite | 13-Apr-2021 | Technical / White Paper

CFOs have never worked harder, but what makes a successful CFO such a rockstar? High-performing CFOs understand the mission, goals and objectives of the...

CameleonCaps™ Brochure: Asian Shade Chart

CameleonCaps™ Brochure: Asian Shade Chart

Tagra Biotechnologies | 22-Feb-2021 | Product Brochure

Asian skin tones often present a challenge for cosmetics manufactures so; we created a special brochure with a shade chart dedicated to Asian skin tones...

Mineral SunCaps™ overcome formulation challenges

Mineral SunCaps™ overcome formulation challenges

Tagra Biotechnologies | 08-Feb-2021 | Data Sheet

Made of cellulose-based polymer, Cellu TitanCap™ and Cellu ZinoCap™ are microcapsules of mineral UV filters. Their innovative formulations improve functionalities...

Clean Cosmetics inspiration by Cargill Beauty

Clean Cosmetics inspiration by Cargill Beauty

Cargill Beauty | 26-Oct-2020 | Product Brochure

Color Cosmetics has been challenged to find clean beauty ingredients that perform in facial makeup applications. Cargill Beauty is creating more solutions...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars