Engineers invent ultra-thin artificial skin that changes colors
A study published by a team of UC Berkeley engineers announces the invention of an ultra-thin film that can shift colors when flexed. Clearly, the inspiration comes from the capability of a chameleon to change colors to match the environment. It’s an incredible invention as a lot of fields will be benefited through such technology.
The team that includes Connie Chang-Hasnain, Li Zhu, Jonas Kapraun and James Ferrara studied and worked on fundamental elements of color and the human eye for creating this silicon film. The film is thousands of times thinner than a human hair. The shift of color is based on the principal of reflection of different wavelengths due to flexing in the skin. There are tiny ridges arranged in a row and the space between these ridges decides what wavelength will be reflected.
Zhu, a fifth-year graduate student at UC Berkeley explained:
“The colors we see in objects are detected by the human eye when the white spectrum of light hits the surface (of an object). Depending on the object’s chemical architecture, the surface absorbs or reflects different wavelengths of light. Shorter waves that are reflected are seen as blue, and the longer waves are seen as red.”
This artificial chameleon skin can prove to be highly useful in new-age electronics that demand continuous supply of energy. The colored, multi-media device consumes higher amount of energy, and this is where this invention can help. The color display will be freed from this energy dependence. That can save a lot of energy for the world, and we really need to do so.
Further, the film can be utilized as sensors that’ll monitor all kind of changes in the structure of an object. For example, a damaged, cracked, protruded portion of a bridge will change color as the shape of the film will get altered due to these structural changes.
However, the trendy aspect is the capability to create fabrics to camouflage human body or fancy clothing that changes colors like chameleon.