How peacock feathers and butterfly wings have inspired a new generation of earthquake sensors

'Whereas nature has developed these materials over millions of years we are slowly catching up in a much shorter period', researcher says

Vincent Wood
Tuesday 19 May 2020 21:49
Comments
A peacock displays his tail feathers at Powis Castle, Wales, which has been closed for weeks due to the pandemic
A peacock displays his tail feathers at Powis Castle, Wales, which has been closed for weeks due to the pandemic

It is a technology built into the very fabric of butterfly wings and peacock feathers - now scientists are hoping a new approach to creating colour changing crystals could help to keep us to keep on top of hand washing regimes, check our food is safe to eat and even predict earthquakes.

An international team of scientists led by researchers from the universities of Surrey and Sussex has developed photonic crystals capable of changing colour when exposed changes in temperature, light, strain and other outside forces.

With changes that can be seen with the naked eye the intensely green crystal can change colour to blue when stretched or turn transparent after being heated - with potential ramifications for healthcare, food safety and security systems like fingerprint scanners, according to the study published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in