Yvonne Carts-Powell

Feather Nanostructures Inspire Two Laser Designs

In beautiful, Science on October 21, 2011 at 11:24 am

Bird feathers, it turns out, are pretty complicated nanostructures, containing both tiny bubbles of air amid the proteins and a tangle of tiny twisty pipes full of air. The bubbles and pipes aren’t arranged in any order — at least, not until you look closely at small areas. Then a consistent, if not actually ordered, arrangement emerges, showing regular distance between the bubbles or pipes, and a regular size of the structures. And in the case of some bright birds, that short-range order is responsible for the colors of the feathers we see.

An effort to not only understand how these feathers create color, but also to reproduce it in structures that can lase, is, at heart, poetic.
Feather Nanostructures Inspire Two Laser Designs.


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