Home / Knowledge / News / Information Technology / Nano Camouflage outfits for fashionistas & environmentalists
Nano Camouflage outfits for fashionistas & environmentalists
23
Apr '09
Sandia researcher George Bachand
Sandia researcher George Bachand
Certain fish species blend with their environment by changing color.

Sandia National Laboratories researchers have demonstrated that, in theory, they could cause synthetic materials to change color like fish do.

“Camouflage outfits that blend with a variety of environments without need of an outside power source — say, blue when at sea and then brown in a desert environment — is where this work could eventually lead,” says principal investigator George Bachand. “Or the same effect could be used in fabricating chic civilian clothing that automatically changes color to fit different visual settings.”

Such clothing could be a reality in five to ten years, he says.

The power source for both the biological and the lab method relies on the basic cellular fuel called ATP, which releases energy as it breaks down. Fifty percent (roughly) is absorbed by the motor proteins — tiny molecular motors able to move along surfaces.

When fish change colors, motor proteins aggregate and disperse skin pigment crystals carried in their “tails” as they walk with their “feet” along the microtubule skeleton of the cell. By this means, they rearrange the color display.

Introducing an on/off switch
To put motor proteins in motion or switch them off, nature uses complex signaling networks. The Bachand group's method is simpler. It involves the simple genetic insertion of a kind of docking port in the motor protein's structure. What docks are zinc ions. Bound zinc ions turn the protein's action to “off.” Stripping zinc ions out with chemical agents allows the motor protein to work again. The effect is controllable, and even reversible.

“We essentially reengineered the protein structure to introduce a switch into the motor,” says Bachand. “So we can now turn our nanofluidic devices on and off.”

Previous efforts at regulating motor activity have used fuel intake as a control mechanism: the less the fuel, the slower the process. The Bachand group's switch, operated independently of fuel changes, resembles the improvement in early automobile technologies when a simple ignition switch took over for more complicated rheostats. The paper describing this work was a spotlighted article in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering (vol. 100, p. 478).

But what is it that the switch operates?

Like crowd surfers at a rock concert
In a cover article in the high-profile journal Advanced Materials (Dec. 2, 2008), the Sandia team describes a kind of inverted cellular world, where motor proteins do not run about but instead are upended so that their tails are embedded in a protein-modified layer on a glass slide. Free-ranging microtubules — cylindrical protein filaments — instead of forming the cellular skeleton of cells, are passed along by the waving feet of the motor proteins like crowd surfers at a rock concert, or like buckets passed hand-to-hand along a line of firefighters.

Must ReadView All

Courtesy: Li & Fung

Textiles | On 29th Mar 2017

Li & Fung introduces new 3-year plan 2017-2019

Li & Fung Limited has outlined its next Three-Year Plan (2017-2019)...

Courtesy: Carrington

Apparel/Garments | On 29th Mar 2017

Carrington Workwear signs JV with TMG Textiles

Carrington Workwear, one of the largest producers of workwear fabrics ...

Apparel/Garments | On 29th Mar 2017

Indonesian garment exports to remain stable in 2017: API

Garment exports from Indonesia are likely to remain stable this year...

Interviews View All

Yash Agarwal
Hitansh Online

Every market region has its own culture and trends

Neel Sawhney
One Friday

‘The share of kidswear segment in the online sector is still small in...

Evelyne Cholet
UCMTF

‘France had a reputation of being big in new ideas, but poor in marketing...

Silke Brand-Kirsch
Schlegel und Partner

Silke Brand-Kirsch, executive partner of Schlegel und Partner, a leading...

Eric Scholler
Groz-Beckert

The Indian market has huge potential in technical textiles, and by far,...

Marcel Alberts
Eurofibers

Coating at a fibre level is a practice not usually seen in the...

Sanjukta Dutta
Sanjukta's Studio

<b>Sanjukta Dutta</b> creates unique garments by clubbing prints of...

Wendell Rodricks
Wendell Rodricks

"We should not compare India and the West. There are things we do that...

Judy Frater
Somaiya Kala Vidya

Among the many honours showered on Frater, including Fulbright and Ford...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH
March 2017

March 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

SUBSCRIBE


Browse Our Archives

GO


eNEWS
Insights
Subscribe today and get the latest News update in your mail box.
Advanced Search