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Sunday, 22 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies, Functional coatings

Changing the colour and becoming invisible

Friday, 13 September 2013

What can the military learn from a common squid? A lot about how to hide from enemies. Researchers took this example from mother nature for a camouflage coating

This squid Paul prophesied 2010 world champion ships games, his colleauges are a the basis for new coatings concepts

Source: dpa

This squid Paul prophesied 2010 world champion ships games, his colleauges are a the basis for new coatings concepts

Source: dpa

Researchers at Univ. of California, Irvine (UC Irvine)’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering have created a biomimetic infrared camouflage coating inspired by Loliginidae, also known as pencil squids or your everyday calamari.
Led by Alon Gorodetsky, an asst. prof. of chemical engineering and materials science, the team produced reflection—a structural protein essential in the squid’s ability to change color and reflect light—in common bacteria and used it to make thin, optically active films that mimic the skin of a squid.

Working with IR-detection

With the appropriate chemical stimuli, the films’ coloration and reflectance can shift back and forth, giving them a dynamic configurability that allows the films to disappear and reappear when visualized with an infrared camera.
Infrared detection equipment is employed extensively by military forces for night vision, navigation, surveillance and targeting. The novelty of this coating lies in its functionality within the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, roughly 700 to 1,200 nm, which matches the standard imaging range of most infrared visualization equipment. This region is not usually accessible to biologically derived reflective materials.
"Our approach is simple and compatible with a wide array of surfaces, potentially allowing many simple objects to acquire camouflage capabilities,” said Gorodetsky, whose work has possible applications in infrared stealth camouflage, energy-efficient reflective coatings and biologically inspired optics.

Longterm goal is a dynamical colour change

This is just the first step in developing a material that will self-reconfigure in response to an external signal, he added. The Samueli School researchers are currently formulating alternative, nonchemical strategies for triggering coloration changes in the reflecting coating.
"Our long-term goal is to create fabrics that can dynamically alter their texture and colour to adapt to their environments,” Gorodetsky said. "Basically, we’re seeking to make shape-shifting clothing—the stuff of science fiction—a reality.”

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