Why blue is one of nature’s brightest colors

Why blue is one of nature's brightest colors

in Bird feather on Fruit skinsIn the natural world, there are two main ways to display colors. Pigment material Provide selective color absorption, or Structure color – The use of microscopic structures to control light reflection.

Now scientists have come up with a computer model that explains why nature’s brightest matte structural colors are almost always blue and green. This is because it is the limit of the color of the structure within the visible spectrum.

In addition to providing a better understanding of how the brightest blues and greens in nature are made, this research could also be important for developing vibrant, environmentally friendly paints and coatings that do not discolor over time or emit toxic chemicals. There is.

In addition to its strength and resistance to fading, matte paints that use structural colors will be much more environmentally friendly as they do not require toxic dyes and pigments. Physicist Gianni Jacucci says. At the University of Cambridge, UK.

“But we must first understand what are the limitations for reproducing these types of colors before commercial applications are possible.”

For structural color, the nanoscale framework of the surface determines the actual color itself.

Sometimes its color can be iridescent, like peacock feathers, for example, and it shifts between colors under different angles and different lighting. They are produced by an ordered crystal structure.

Peacock feathers are a classic example of structural color. (Tj Holowaychuk / Unsplash)

If you use a different structure, you can get a matte color that does not change due to the disordered structure. Naturally, this was only observed when producing blues and greens. The point of the new study was to see if this is an inherent limitation of the above structure.

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A new computer model based on an artificial material called photonic glass shows that red is actually outside the scope of the scattering technique behind matte structural colors. The long wavelength region of the visible spectrum cannot be easily reflected using the following technique. These microscopic surface structures.

“Due to the complex interactions between single scattering and multiple scattering, and the contribution of the correlated scattering, we find that besides red, yellow and orange, it is hardly reachable.” Chemist Silvia Vignolini says, At the University of Cambridge.

Plum coating colorPlum-throated cotingas display a vivid structural matte blue. (redabbott / iNaturalist / CC-BY-NC)

This is why a bright matte red color is produced using natural pigments rather than structural colors. The team believes that because of the limitations of the underlying structure, the evolution of nature has led to a variety of ways to produce red color.

Knowing more about how these matte structural colors are made will bring you closer to producing pigment-and-dye-free paints. This is an important step forward in long-lasting and environmentally friendly materials for many applications.

Still, there are some differences and it seems like you need a different approach for red and orange. Other kinds of nanostructures may do the job after more detailed research is done, but for now, materials scientists face the same problems as in the natural world.

“When we tried to artificially reproduce the matte structural colors of red or orange, we had poor quality in terms of saturation and color purity.” Chemist Lukas Schertel says, At the University of Cambridge.

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The research results are PNAS.

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About the Author: Max Grant

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