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Prof Silvia Vignolini

Professor in Chemistry and Bio-materials



Tel. 01223 761490


Photonic structures in Nature and Bio-mimetic Materials

Colour in nature is everywhere: animals and plants develop structures on sub-micrometer scale to manipulate light and to obtain brilliant and iridescent colours. This kind of colouration, named structural since it is not obtained using pigmentation, results from various mechanisms, including multilayered materials, crystalline inclusions and surface diffraction gratings. In order to elucidate the design principles that underlie the evolution of such structures in nature, we study the assembly and optical response of both natural and bio-mimetic materials using the same materials use by nature. Understanding the assembly of natural materials will pave the way to the production of low cost, biodegradable photonic materials. Steered self-assembly of such materials could replace traditional, potentially hazardous colorants used industrially for food, cosmetics, art, textiles and as security labelling.

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