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

Neelesh Hundekari speaking at the event. Courtesy: Subir Ghosh

Textiles | On 27th May 2017

Fabric of Change initiative announces €250000 scaling fund

The Fabric of Change initiative of Ashoka and the C&A Foundation is...

Pakistan's Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar presenting Budget 2017-18 in National Assembly in Islamabad on May 26. Courtesy: PID, Pakistan

Textiles | On 27th May 2017

Pakistan Budget 2017-18 proposes 4 new measures

To support the textile sector in Pakistan, finance minister Mohammad...

Textiles | On 27th May 2017

Indian exports can touch $325 bn in 2017-18: FIEO

Indian exports are on upward trend in last few months as the country...

Interviews View All

Dinaz Madhukar
DLF Emporio and DLF Promenade

‘Each event and promotion is planned out keeping in mind the business of...

Sunil Kumar Sharma
Loknayak JPNSSSG Ltd

'The blend of cotton–linen yarn has high demand in the domestic and...

Smarth Bansal
Colorjet India Limited

We would like to venture more companies into the Indian market

Steve Cole
Xerium Technologies

Steve Cole of Xerium Technologies discusses the industry. Xerium is the...

Kai Poehler
Voith Paper GmbH & Co. KG

The glass mat industry is growing by five to eight per cent annually. Kai...

Kerem Durdag
Biovation II LLC

Kerem Durdag, CEO, Biovation II LLC, provides an insight into future...

Igor Chapurin
Chapurin

"Now we can see the Russian trend in international fashion. And Russian...

Yash P. Kotak
Bombay Hemp Company

One of the directors of Bombay Hemp Company, Yash P. Kotak, speaks to...

Silvia Venturini Fendi
Fendi s.r.l

"Yes, my confidence and positive attitude are my strengths and should be...

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

news category


Related Categories:
May 2017

May 2017

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

SUBSCRIBE


Browse Our Archives

GO


E-News Insight
Subscribe Today and Get the
Latest News Update in Your Mail Box.
Advanced Search