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Microscopic marbles scatters light into intense colours
07
Jun '16
Courtesy- University of Cambridge
Courtesy- University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge's researchers have invented a new method for stacking microscopic marbles into regular layers, producing intriguing materials which scatter light into intense colours, and which change colour when twisted or stretched.

The researchers using a new method called bend induced oscillatory shearing (BIOS), are able to produce hundreds of metres of these materials, known as 'polymer opals', on a roll-to-roll process.

“Finding a way to coax objects a billionth of a metre across into perfect formation over kilometre scales is a miracle. But spheres are only the first step, as it should be applicable to more complex architectures on tiny scales,” said Professor Jeremy Baumberg.

The team started by growing vats of transparent plastic nano-spheres to make the polymer opals. The spheres are then dried out into a congealed mass. By bending sheets containing a sandwich of these spheres around successive rollers the balls are magically forced into perfectly arranged stacks, by which stage they have intense colour.

By changing the sizes of the starting nano-spheres, different colours or wavelengths of light are reflected. And since the material has a rubber-like consistency, when it is twisted and stretched, the spacing between the spheres changes, causing the material to change colour. (NA)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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