Published on January 31st, 2013 | by James Ayre0
Color-Changing Photonic Fibers Created, Inspired By The Bastard Hogberry
A new type of flexible color-changing photonic fiber has been created by researchers at Harvard University and the University of Exeter. When it’s stretched, the fiber changes color, with the color varying from a deep red to a bright blue. The researchers think that the new fiber could be used for the creation of ‘smart’ fabrics that visibly change color when exposed to heat or pressure. Such fabrics could have a wide variety of potential uses.
“Our fiber-rolling technique allows the use of a wide range of materials, especially elastic ones, with the color-tuning range exceeding by an order of magnitude anything that has been reported for thermally drawn fibers,” says coauthor Joanna Aizenberg, Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science at Harvard SEAS, and Kolle’s adviser.
The fibers were inspired by the fruit of a common South American plant, the bastard hogberry. The unique structural elements in the berry’s surface layers create the bright iridescent blue color that the plant is known for.