Scientists have found a unique crystal in the feather of a blue-winged leafbird, Science Daily reported. A three-dimensional crystal was found during an investigation into the colors of the birds’ plumage.
Source: Amazing Planet!/Youtube
The single gyroid photonic crystals are desirable for the optical and electronic properties that make them useful in photovoltaic cells necessary for solar energy. This study is relevant as the search for effective and efficient renewable energy continues.
Dr. Vinod Kumar Saranathan from the Division of Science at Yale-NUS College shared,
“Currently, we cannot industrially manufacture single gyroid photonic crystals to work in the visible light spectrum, via self-assembly, a process that spontaneously brings together nanoscale chemical ‘Lego-blocks.’ Larger crystals can be manufactured and then heat-shrunk to work with visible light, but so far this can be done only on a small scale and is not defect-free.
“Thus, our discovery of the first directly self-assembled single gyroid crystals known to science, found in these leafbirds, we think is revolutionary. The way leafbirds manufacture these crystals is much more straightforward than how butterflies (some of which use the same structure in their wing scales) or material scientists are known to do so.”
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