Technology

Created material that changes color like a chameleon

Probably each of us dreamed aboutinvisibility cloak. Well, apparently recalling their childhood dreams, researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed real artificial skin that can change its color like a chameleon. According to scientists, a similar invention can be used in camouflage and in the development of large-scale dynamic displays. Similar news periodically appears in the press. Is it really different this time?

To create a unique material, experts were inspired by the ability of chameleons to change their color.

Why does a chameleon change color?

Chameleons have always stood out from the restanimals due to the unusual ability to change the color of their body. The study of the nature of such an interesting skill was very interested in the ancient Roman scientist Pliny, who believed that it was the environment and background that in some unknown way influence the color of the chameleons. In the XVII century, scientists believed that by painting his body in different colors, the animal shows the level of emotional excitement and emotions. The second option turned out to be closest to the truth. So, with the help of coloring, chameleons communicate with their own kind, and the most striking color in this case is obtained when the males meet each other. In other words, by painting their body with all the colors of the rainbow, the chameleons show their desire to be noticed. In addition, the color of the chameleon often changes depending on the ambient temperature or when the level of lighting and humidity familiar to the animal changes. Scientists from the University of Cambridge decided to use this particular feature as an example to create a new invention - a unique camouflage material that can change its color.

An example of a color change of a material. Source here

Is it possible to make an item invisible?

Cambridge scientists seem to have created the world's first invisibility cloak

Inspired by the ability of chameleons and cuttlefishTo change their color, disguising themselves as their environment, researchers from the University of Cambridge created a unique material consisting of gold particles in a polymer shell. In order for gold to be able to reflect light, scientists placed it in microdroplets of water in oil. When exposed to heat or light, particles get the ability to change the color of the material.

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In nature, chameleons are able to change color due to chromatophores - skin cells with special contractile fibers, which allow coloring pigments to move.

Artificial Chromatophores DesignedCambridge researchers change their color at temperatures above 32 degrees Celsius. When this temperature is reached, the nanoparticles begin to accumulate a large amount of energy in a split second, since polymer coatings displace all water and are destroyed. When cooling the material, the polymers gradually capture water and expand, changing their original shape.

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The geometry of the clusters affects the color of the nanoparticles: when the nanoparticles are scattered, they are red, and when they are grouped together, they become dark blue.

Currently developed materialCambridge researchers, has only one layer, so it can change only one color. Nevertheless, the use of new materials to create reflective nanoparticles will help researchers achieve the desired “chameleon effect”.

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