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Nano Lett. 2015 Jun 10;15(6):3735-42. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b00201. Epub 2015 May 14.

Structural Diversity of Arthropod Biophotonic Nanostructures Spans Amphiphilic Phase-Space.

Author information

1
†Division of Physics and Applied Physics, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, 21 Nanyang Link, 637371, Singapore.
2
‡Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PS, United Kingdom.
3
§CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia.
4
∥Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, United States.

Abstract

Many organisms, especially arthropods, produce vivid interference colors using diverse mesoscopic (100-350 nm) integumentary biophotonic nanostructures that are increasingly being investigated for technological applications. Despite a century of interest, precise structural knowledge of many biophotonic nanostructures and the mechanisms controlling their development remain tentative, when such knowledge can open novel biomimetic routes to facilely self-assemble tunable, multifunctional materials. Here, we use synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering and electron microscopy to characterize the photonic nanostructure of 140 integumentary scales and setae from ∼127 species of terrestrial arthropods in 85 genera from 5 orders. We report a rich nanostructural diversity, including triply periodic bicontinuous networks, close-packed spheres, inverse columnar, perforated lamellar, and disordered spongelike morphologies, commonly observed as stable phases of amphiphilic surfactants, block copolymer, and lyotropic lipid-water systems. Diverse arthropod lineages appear to have independently evolved to utilize the self-assembly of infolding lipid-bilayer membranes to develop biophotonic nanostructures that span the phase-space of amphiphilic morphologies, but at optical length scales.

KEYWORDS:

Biophotonic nanostructures; biomimetics; iridescence; membrane-folding; self-assembly; structural colors

PMID:
25938382
DOI:
10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b00201
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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