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Professor of Chemistry and Bio-materials

Photonic structures in Nature and Bio-mimetic Materials

Research Interests

Photonic structures in nature

Colour in nature is everywhere: animals and plants develop structures on sub-micrometer scale to manipulate light and to obtain brilliant and iridescent colours. This kind of colouration, named structural since it is not obtained using pigmentation, results from various mechanisms, including multilayered materials, crystalline inclusions and surface diffraction gratings. Pollia condensata fruits are one of the most striking examples of  strong iridescent colouration in plants. The colour is caused by Bragg-reflection of helicoidally stacked cellulose microfibrils, which form multilayers in the cell walls of the epicarp. The bright blue colour of this fruit is more intense than that of many previously described biological materials. Uniquely in nature, the reflected colour differs from cell to cell, as the layer thicknesses in the multilayer stack vary, giving the fruit a striking pixelated or ’pointillist’ appearance.

PNAS 109, 15712–15715, (2012)

 

Another striking example is the white of the Cyphochilus beetle which is native to South-East Asia, is whiter than paper, thanks to ultra-thin scales which cover its body. A new investigation of the optical properties of these scales has shown that they are able to scatter light more efficiently than any other biological tissue known, which is how they are able to achieve such a bright whiteness.

Scientific Reports 4, 6075 doi:10.1038/srep06075 (2014)

Funding

  1. BBSRC David Phillips fellowship
  2. Next Generation fellowship
  3. Isaac Newton Trust

Watch Professor Vignolini discuss her research

Selected Publications

[1] Pointillist structural colour in Pollia fruit

S. Vignolini, P. J. Rudall, A. V. Rowland, A. Reed, E. Moyroud, R. B. Faden, J. J. Baumberg, B. J. Glover, U. Steiner; PNAS 109, 15712–15715, (2012). 

[2] Controlled bio-inspired self-assembly of cellulose-based chiral reflectors 

A. G. Dumanli, G. Kamita, J. Landman, H. van der Kooij, B. J. Glover, J. J. Baumberg, U Steiner, S. Vignolini;  Adv. Opt. Mat. DOI: 10.1002/adom.201400112  (2014)
 

[3]Bright-White Beetle scales Optimise Multiple Scattering of Light

M. Burresi, L. Cortese, L. Pattelli, M. Kolle, P.Vukusic, D. Wiersma, U. Steiner, and S.Vignolini; Scientific Reports 4, 6075 doi:10.1038/srep06075 (2014)

 

Publications

Corrigendum.
BD Wilts, PJ Rudall, E Moyroud, T Gregory, Y Ogawa, S Vignolini, U Steiner, BJ Glover
– The New phytologist
(2022)
The Sustainable Materials Roadmap
M Titirici, SG Baird, TD Sparks, SM Yang, A Brandt-Talbot, O Hosseinaei, DP Harper, RM Parker, S Vignolini, LA Berglund, Y Li, H-L Gao, L-B Mao, S-H Yu, N Díez, GA Ferrero, M Sevilla, PÁ Szilágyi, CJ Stubbs, JC Worch, Y Huang, CK Luscombe, K-Y Lee, H Luo, MJ Platts, D Tiwari, D Kovalevskiy, DJ Fermin, H Au, H Alptekin, M Crespo-Ribadeneyra, VP Ting, T-P Fellinger, J Barrio, O Westhead, C Roy, IEL Stephens, SA Nicolae, SC Sarma, RP Oates, C-G Wang, Z Li, XJ Loh, RJ Myers, N Heeren, A Grégoire, C Périssé, X Zhao, Y Vodovotz, B Earley, G Finnveden, A Björklund, GDJ Harper, A Walton, PA Anderson
– Journal of Physics Materials
(2022)
5,
032001
Structurally Colored Radiative Cooling Cellulosic Films.
W Zhu, B Droguet, Q Shen, Y Zhang, TG Parton, X Shan, RM Parker, MFL De Volder, T Deng, S Vignolini, T Li
– Advanced science (Weinheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany)
(2022)
e2202061
Deconvoluting the Optical Response of Biocompatible Photonic Pigments.
Z Wang, CLC Chan, JS Haataja, L Schertel, R Li, GT van de Kerkhof, OA Scherman, RM Parker, S Vignolini
– Angew Chem Int Ed Engl
(2022)
e202206562
Deconvoluting the Optical Response of Biocompatible Photonic Pigments
Z Wang, CLC Chan, JS Haataja, L Schertel, R Li, GT van de Kerkhof, OA Scherman, RM Parker, S Vignolini
– Angewandte Chemie
(2022)
Revealing the Structural Coloration of Self-Assembled Chitin Nanocrystal Films
A Narkevicius, RM Parker, J Ferrer-Orri, TG Parton, Z Lu, GT van de Kerkhof, B Frka-Petesic, S Vignolini
– Advanced Materials
(2022)
34,
2203300
Cellulose photonic pigments
RM Parker, TH Zhao, B Frka-Petesic, S Vignolini
– Nature communications
(2022)
13,
3378
Convergent evolution of disordered lipidic structural colour in the fruits of Lantana strigocamara (syn. L. camara hybrid cultivar).
MA Sinnott-Armstrong, Y Ogawa, GT van de Kerkhof, S Vignolini, SD Smith
– New Phytol
(2022)
235,
898
Polysaccharide metabolism regulates structural colour in bacterial colonies
GT van de Kerkhof, L Schertel, L Catòn, TG Parton, KH Müller, HF Greer, CJ Ingham, S Vignolini
– J R Soc Interface
(2022)
19,
20220181
Chiral self-assembly of cellulose nanocrystals is driven by crystallite bundles.
TG Parton, RM Parker, GTVD Kerkhof, A Narkevicius, JS Haataja, B Frka-Petesic, S Vignolini
– Nature Communications
(2022)
13,
2657
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