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A Protective Film Produced by Whey Protein for Photonic Crystals: Inspired by the Epidermis Structure of Chameleon

Abstract

Self-assembly technology of sub-micrometer-sized colloidal particles is the most promising approach for the preparation of large-area Photonic Crystals (PCs). However, PCs obtained by this method are facile to be destroyed by external factors such as friction, impact, and pollutants. The highly keratinized epidermis of chameleon skin acts as a protective role for the dermis with photon cells of the tunable band-gap structure. Inspired by the epidermis structure of chameleon, we use whey protein to develop a sort of protective film on the surface of artificially synthesized PCs. The film possesses positive mechanical properties that make the PCs friction and impact resistant. In addition, favorable resistance to water and CO2 could prevent PCs from being destroyed by pollutants. Consequently, PCs with protective film are well preserved when subjected to external factors (such as friction) and the optical properties of the PCs are successfully maintained, that may significantly promote the utilization of PCs in optical devices.

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Acknowledgment

We appreciate National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51572058 and 51502057), National Key Research & Development Program (Nos. 2016YFB0303903 and 2016YFE0201600), the International Science & Technology Cooperation Program of China (Nos. 2013DFR10630 and 2015DFE52770), and Foundation of Equipment Development Department (No. 6220914010901).

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Correspondence to Yao Li.

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Chen, X., Xu, H., Pan, L. et al. A Protective Film Produced by Whey Protein for Photonic Crystals: Inspired by the Epidermis Structure of Chameleon. J Bionic Eng 15, 713–721 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42235-018-0059-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42235-018-0059-z

Keywords

  • chameleon
  • photonic crystal
  • bioinspired protective film
  • whey protein