University at Buffalo engineers have developed a one-step, low-cost method to fabricate a polymer with extraordinary properties: When viewed from a single perspective, the polymer is rainbow-colored, reflecting many different wavelengths of light.
Used as a filter for light, this material could form the basis of handheld multispectral imaging devices that identify the "true color" of objects examined.
"Such portable technology could have applications in a wide range of fields, from home improvement, like matching paint colors, to biomedical imaging, including analyzing colors in medical images to detect disease," said UB Vice President for Research and Economic Development Alexander N. Cartwright, one of the UB researchers who led the study.
The ease of producing the polymer could make it feasible to develop small devices that connect with cell phones to conduct multispectral imaging, said Qiaoqiang Gan, a UB assistant professor of electrical engineering and another member of the research team.
"Our method is pretty low-cost, and because of this and the potential cell phone applications, we feel there is a huge market for improving clinical imaging in developing countries," Gan said.
Because the colors of the rainbow filter are produced as a result of the filter's surface geometry, and not by some kind of pigment, the colors won't fade over time. (It's the same principle that gives color to the wings of butterflies and feather of peacocks.)
Cartwright and Gan's team reported on their polymer fabrication technique online Feb. 22 in Advanced Materials, an academic journal. Coauthors on the study also include UB students Ke Liu and Huina Xu and UB research scientist Haifeng Hu. An abstract is available here: http://bit.ly/zDK42U.
Images of Gan and Cartwright are available here: http://bit.ly/zCjfYF and http://bit.ly/xIh1yt.
The UB Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR) has submitted a provisional patent application detailing the production process to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
To create the rainbow material, Liu and Xu sandwiched a photosensitive pre-polymer syrup between two glass slides. (A photosensitive substance is one whose physical properties change upon exposure to light.)
Next, they directed a laser beam through a curved lens placed above the pre-polymer solution. The lens divided and bent the laser beam into light of continuously varying wavelengths.
As this light hit the solution, monomers in the solution began joining into polymers, forming a continuous pattern of ridge-like polymer structures. Larger ridges rose where the light struck with more intensity.
The resulting structure is a thin filter that is rainbow-colored when viewed under white light. This is because the periodic polymer layers reflect a continuous spectrum of colors, from red on one end to indigo on the other.
The single-step fabrication method -- shining a laser light through a curved lens -- is affordable and relatively simple.
The filter the researchers created was about 25 millimeters long, but the technique they used is scalable: It's possible to create filters of different sizes by shining the laser through lenses of different sizes.
Gan said the next step for the researchers is to improve the quality of the rainbow filter. The team is also beginning to explore ideas for incorporating the technology into handheld devices.
Liu presented the results of this work with the rainbow-colored polymer grating as a post-deadline paper at IEEE Photonic Annual Meeting in Arlington, Va., in October 2011. The conference is considered one of the premier international events for optics and photonics.
Charlotte Hsu | EurekAlert!
Electrical fields drive nano-machines a 100,000 times faster than previous methods
19.01.2018 | Technische Universität München
ISFH-CalTeC is “designated test centre” for the confirmation of solar cell world records
16.01.2018 | Institut für Solarenergieforschung GmbH
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy