Design and Fabrication of Structurally Colored Bio-Inspired Surfaces


Bianca Datta


Bianca Datta, Sunny Jolly, V. Michael Bove, Jr.

Author Affiliation: 

MIT Media Lab


Structural color phenomena exhibited by several organisms result from interference and diffraction of light incident upon multilayer nanostructures. The wings of the Morpho butterfly are a well-studied example of a biological system exhibiting structural coloration and a high degree of wide-angle iridescence. Here we present a comprehensive method for iterative inverse design of a biomimetic Morpho-inspired photonic structure exhibiting tailored disorder and a fabrication methodology based around two-photon polymerization. Such complex biological systems require advanced fabrication techniques, and replication of nanoscale features of this complexity has been difficult. In comparison to existing fabrication methods for Morpho-inspired structures, direct laser writing methods such as two-photon polymerization allow for flexible, three-dimensional, volumetric feature patterning on multiple length scales. When combined with the design and optimization process presented here, this method allows for the use of the Morpho structure as a baseline for iteration, both to incorporate tailored disorder, and to produce structures with extended functionality beyond existing systems. This process provides a toolkit with which to examine and build other bio-inspired, tunable, and responsive photonic systems and expand the range of achievable structural colors. Goals of this project include adapting achievable structures produced with and processes developed with a commercial Nanoscribe polymerization direct laser writing system with alternative resists and custom-built laser systems.