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January 3, 2016 AT 5:00 am

‘Paintings’ Inspired by Butterfly Wing Nanoparticles #Biomimicry

Kate Nichols went to great lengths to create this butterfly inspired art , Via Gizmodo

Eventually she decided to stop fighting her materials: nanoparticles suspended in liquid eventually want to find a level, so she worked with that, pipetting her solutions into glass tubes. Then she torched the ends of the tubes, sealing the particles in a vacuum, and waited to see what would happen. She found that at first, the silver nanoparticles appeared turquoise, but over time their corners rounded off, turning them from triangles into discs. This shifted their hue to more of a royal blue as they settled to the bottom of the tube.

Nichols used those tubes to create sculptures, but she still wanted to create a usable nanopaint. She found that by using nanoparticles shaped more like soccer balls and suspending them in organic solvents, she could get them to adhere to glass. And over time, she figured out exactly how the solvent dried, and how her pieces would look in different kinds of lighting.

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