A group of researchers in Japan have produced a butterfly wing-inspired structural color device for measuring the beating of heart cells, which they hope will help speed up the process of pharmaceutical testing. Their findings are published in RSC Advances. In the 17th Century two giants of science, Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke, were both trying to understand how the wings of butterflies and peacocks, which are made of the same material as our fingernails and hair, could produce colors of such brilliant quality. They both came to the same conclusion—the color was a result of tiny structures on the wing. Science and technology have progressed far in those 300 years, and not only can we easily observe the structure of a butterfly’s wing that produces such brilliant color, but we can readily create them ourselves. Inspired by this kind of structural color, researchers at Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Science (iCeMS), led by Professor Easan Sivaniah, in collaboration with researchers from Semmelweis University and Kyoto University Medical School, have created a device based on structural color principles. Like the wing of a butterfly, this device produces structural color from micro-patterns developed on the surface of a polymer gel.
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