Bioinspired bright noniridescent photonic melanin supraballs

Ming Xiao, Ziying Hu, Zhao Wang, Yiwen Li, Alejandro Diaz Tormo, Nicolas Le Thomas, Boxiang Wang, Nathan C. Gianneschi, Matthew D. Shawkey, Ali Dhinojwala*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

Structural colors enable the creation of a spectrum of nonfading colors without pigments, potentially replacing toxic metal oxides and conjugated organic pigments. However, significant challenges remain to achieve the contrast needed for a complete gamut of colors and a scalable process for industrial application. We demonstrate a feasible solution for producing structural colors inspired by bird feathers. We have designed core-shell nanoparticles using high–refractive index (RI) (~1.74) melanin cores and low-RI (~1.45) silica shells. The design of these nanoparticles was guided by finite-difference time-domain simulations. These nanoparticles were self-assembled using a one-pot reverse emulsion process, which resulted in bright and noniridescent supraballs. With the combination of only two ingredients, synthetic melanin and silica, we can generate a full spectrum of colors. These supraballs could be directly added to paints, plastics, and coatings and also used as ultraviolet-resistant inks or cosmetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1701151
JournalScience Advances
Volume3
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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