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Bio-inspired Photonics

Mélanie Bay

The science of colour is a fascinating topic  that I studied from a variety of perspectives such as engineering (during my Master in Printing Engineering at Grenoble Institute for Technology, France), communication (during my year abroad in the Packaging Development Master at Stuttgart Media University, Germany) and arts (during a year in the Art-Studies program at Grenoble Applied Arts School, France). I mostly encountered pigments and dyes which give a material its colour depending on their chemical nature. Now I have joined the Bio-inspired Photonics group that focuses on colours that, instead, arise from the physical interactions between light and the structure of materials at the nanoscale.


In the course of my PhD (started in October 2017), I am studying the beautiful colours caused by the helicoidal arrangement of a cellulose liquid crystal: hydroxypropyl-cellulose (HPC). My research consists in investigating in more detail how this material gives rise to brilliant structural colours. In addition, I would like to use this knowledge for several applications that will put to an advantage the sensor capability and the bio-compatibility of HPC.


Visual Appearance of Chiral Nematic Cellulose-Based Photonic Films: Angular and Polarization Independent Color Response with a Twist.
CLC Chan, MM Bay, G Jacucci, R Vadrucci, CA Williams, GT van de Kerkhof, RM Parker, K Vynck, B Frka-Petesic, S Vignolini
– Adv Mater
Roll-to-roll fabrication of touch-responsive cellulose photonic laminates
H-L Liang, MM Bay, R Vadrucci, CH Barty-King, J Peng, JJ Baumberg, MFL De Volder, S Vignolini
– Nature communications

Graduate student

Telephone number

01223 336410 (shared)

Email address