A team of researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) has developed a groundbreaking paint that does not use pigments, but rather structural colorants based on the geometrical arrangement of nanostructures. The paint, which is inspired by butterflies and other colorful creatures, is more natural, environmentally friendly and lightweight than traditional paint, and can also help reduce global warming by reflecting infrared light and keeping surfaces cooler.
The development was published in Science Advances as a featured article and has attracted attention from various media outlets, including Innovation Origins, Orlando Weekly and WESH. The lead researcher, Debashis Chanda, a professor in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center, says that structural color is “the primary color-generating mechanism in several extremely vivid species where geometrical arrangement of typically two colorless materials produces all colors.”
Structural colorants control the way light is reflected, scattered or absorbed based purely on the geometrical arrangement of nanostructures. This is unlike pigment-based colors that use artificially synthesized molecules that absorb photons of certain energies. The paint developed by Chanda and his team combines structural color flakes with a commercial binder to form long-lasting paints of all colors.
The paints are also extremely lightweight, with full coloration achieved at a paint thickness of only 150 nanometers, making it the lightest paint in the world. Additionally, the plasmonic paint reflects the entire infrared spectrum, resulting in the underneath surface staying approximately 14 to 17 degrees Celsius cooler than it would if it were covered with standard commercial paint. This temperature difference promises to lead to significant energy savings and lessened carbon dioxide emissions.
The research behind the paint draws inspiration from nature. “The range of colors and hues in the natural world are astonishing — from colorful flowers, birds and butterflies to underwater creatures like fish and cephalopods,” Chanda says. “On the other hand, with manmade pigment, new molecules are needed for every color present.”
Chanda says that his team’s innovation could have applications in various industries, such as aviation, automotive, construction and art. He also hopes that his work will inspire more research on structural color and its potential benefits for society and the environment.
The UCF team received funding from the National Science Foundation and UCF’s Office of Research for their project. Chanda’s lab is also working on other projects related to nanophotonics, metamaterials and plasmonics.
The researchers in his nanoscience lab at the University of Central Florida had already worked out the kinks in the high-end machinery
The University of Central Florida has developed a groundbreaking, environmentally friendly paint that does not use pigments, but rather structural colorants…
Instead of pigment-based colored paint, which requires artificially synthesized molecules, a UCF researcher has developed an alternative way
Color is an important source of sensations, and it has motivated humans to develop more and better colorants.