According to the engineers involved in the project, the chameleons change the colors of their skin by manipulating small crystals under their skin and changing their positions. The new synthetic material, which is extremely thin, changes its color when it’s being pressured or twisted.
The scientists describe the new color-changing material as being a silicon film that has “one-thousandth the width of a human hair.”
Connie J. Chang-Hasnain, one of the leaders of the new study, explains that this is the first synthetic material that is chameleon-like and can change its colors when flexed.
According to its inventors, the innovative material could be used in the future for detecting defects or display systems in aircrafts, buildings or bridges.
The color-changing material is made of semiconducting silicon that is 120 nanometers thick. The scientists have displayed the material as a1 cm square layer.
The material’s initial design displayed a range of colors that could change from yellow to green, red and orange, across a range of wavelengths that are 39 nanometers long.
The scientists explained that the material is made by cutting tiny ridge-like designs that are thinner that one wavelength of light. Each of these cuts have the role of reflecting a particular wavelength and its corresponding colors.
This way, the colors of the newly invented material can be modified through flexing and bending its surface.
According to Chang-Hasnain, if there is a surface that has precise structures are a positioned in a way that allows it to interact with a certain light wavelength, the material’s properties and its interactions with light can be changed simply by changing the material’s dimensions.
The researchers further added that their next step is to make build the color-changing material on a larger scale and are already working on ways to make it happen.
They hope that a larger-scale color-changing material could be used in different fields, such as monitoring, security and entertainment.
The findings of the new study were published in the journal Optica.
Image Source: uncovercalifornia
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