Cellulose for bio-inspired photonic materials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

Biological photonic structures, optimized over millennia by the rigorous process of evolution, can provide broad inspiration for novel artificial and multifunctional photonic materials. The most brilliant and striking colours in nature are in fact obtained without the use of any pigments, but by nano-structuring transparent materials: for example, colour in plants can be obtained using only cellulose. By periodically arranging cellulose nano-fibres in the cell wall, different plant species obtain incredibly vivid colours across the entire visible spectrum, from the deepest violet to the most intense red.

In this project, I propose to use cellulose as a new photonic material in order to produce structures ranging from photonic crystals to completely random structures, providing materials with strong colouration and ultra-white response, respectively. Such materials will find highly sustainable uses in everyday life. As an example, edible cellulose-based nanostructures with structural colour can be use to substitute toxic dyes and colorants in food. Moreover, the fact that the processes involved in cellulose extraction and manipulation are already used in the paper industry facilitates the use of such materials for industrial applications such as security labelling or cosmetics.
Knowledge about disorder in such structures, and the study of completely random systems is also extremely important to our understanding of the biological significance of disorder both in natural structures and for the fabrication of new materials. In particular it will aid our understanding of the extent to which natural photonic crystals and bio-inspired structures are tolerant of structural disorder.
Mimicking natural photonic structures, using the same materials that are involved in Nature, unveils information regarding the mysterious processes of the natural development of plant cells.

In conclusion, by taking inspiration from nature it is possible to obtain smart multifunctional materials that are fabricated by sustainable routes with abundant and cheap materials like cellulose.

Technical Summary

Nature's most vivid colours rely on ordered, quasi-ordered or disordered structures with lattice constants or scattering element sizes on the order of the wavelength of visible radiation. Knowledge of the interplay between the morphology, composition and optical appearance of biological photonic systems can provide inspiration for novel artificial photonic materials. Plants develop nanostructured tissues with a strong photonic response. Many flowers develop a striated epidermal layer that produces iridescent colouration, which can be used as a cue by pollinators. Complex multilayers structures made on cellulose are observed in several kinds of cells and in a wide variety of plants. Such structures provide a strong and colour-selective reflection in a narrow wavelength region. The way in which these structures are produced in plant cell walls remains an unresolved problem in developmental biology.
Replicating cellulose-based architectures is extremely interesting as it sheds light on the biological processes at work in growing these structures in the cell walls, and it equips us to fabricate novel photonic structures using low cost materials in ambient conditions.
This project will lead to the fabrication of cellulose-based smart optical materials and metamaterials using a scalable and sustainable approach. The cellulose-based photonic structures fabricated will find applications in everyday life, for example as replacements for toxic colorants in foods and for security labelling in banknotes.
The project will open a completely new field of research that combines different disciplines and techniques in order to understand the biological significance of disorder in Nature. In the case of flowers, the optical response from the fabricated structures will be experimentally and theoretically investigated and the produced samples will be then used for behavioural experiments with bees in order to understand the effect of disorder in plant-pollinator signalling.

Planned Impact

IMPACT SUMMARY

The proposed research has interdisciplinary aims. The research will benefit academics in various sectors, from physicists, to material scientists, to biologists both on a national level (the UK is one of the leading countries in the field of bio-inspired photonics) and international level. Within the project I will promote national and international collaboration to create a network of young researchers from different backgrounds.

Within this research I will address fundamental problems of biology including the formation of the plant cell wall and the role of disorder in natural photonic crystals from the evolutionary point of view, but I will also develop new methodologies to fabricate materials that can control the flow of light propagating inside them, work which will be equally extremely interesting for material scientists and the nano-photonics communities.

In this project I aim to improve established techniques, and to explore novel ideas and methods for revolutionary solutions to the many challenges in the fabrication of photonic structures using cellulose. Any breakthrough (but also incremental improvements) on existing techniques will have highly significant impact on the advance of nanosciences overall. The project will also promote the training of indivudal researchers and collaboration within different research institutions within UK and abroad. A PDRA and several Masters students will be trained during the project and they will benefit from the knowledge and facilities of different collaborators involved, thus promoting and improving their research skills. At the same time, my own leadership and management skills will be further improved, as a result of overall management of the project: for instance, I will develop my abilities in supervising students, coordinating with collaborators, and forging strong interactions with many researchers within and outside the Host Institution.

The fact that the project's aims cross different disciplines also makes it engaging for the general public. In order to maximize the impact on society, we will make timely contact with mass media (radio, TV and press) to coincide with important publications; this will raise public awareness and understanding of science, and at the same time, it will promote the role of women in science. For this I will participate in public outreach events and involve schools, proposing activities during open days and developing a website with sections aimed at general audiences. These sections will be rich in pictorial examples and simple explanations of physical processes linked to everyday life (for example, the idea of thin film interference iridescence can be explained by using a soap bubble). I already have significant experience in outreach and public engagement (see CV).

The project will also contribute more directly to the improvement of quality of life, health and well-being, since it aims to use a sustainable polymer (cellulose is also one of the most abundant bio-polymers on earth) as a new photonic material for a wide range of applications. For example, the project aims to fabricate edible coloured structures, cosmetics and security labeling using scalable and cheap processes. This will lead to the exploitation of scientific knowledge, leading to the publication of patents and eventually to the development of commercial products. The host institution is particularly suitable in such aims since it provides the services of Cambridge Enterprise, which will help to target commercial uses of the research findings at industrial partners. I already have experience in collaborating with industry and have published a patent during my PhD (see Pathways to Impact).

Publications

10 25 50

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Caixeiro S (2017) Disordered Cellulose-Based Nanostructures for Enhanced Light Scattering. in ACS applied materials & interfaces

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Chandler C (2017) Structural Color in Marine Algae in Advanced Optical Materials

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Chandler CJ (2015) Structural colour in Chondrus crispus. in Scientific reports

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Cortese L (2015) Anisotropic Light Transport in White Beetle Scales in Advanced Optical Materials

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Dumanli AG (2014) Digital color in cellulose nanocrystal films. in ACS applied materials & interfaces

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Eichhorn SJ (2018) New horizons for cellulose nanotechnology. in Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

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Espinha A (2016) Shape Memory Cellulose-Based Photonic Reflectors. in ACS applied materials & interfaces

 
Title Exhibition with Laurent-David Garnier at the Mondriaan Fonds 
Description Garnier works with substances that evaporate, that are elusive and volatile and calls the compositions he makes with them sculptures because they have a volume in which the visitor can move and submerge. "As immaterial as it may seem, every molecule is ultimately material. Both the construction of my sculptures (odorant compositions) and their behaviour are physical at a molecular level. My sculptures, sometimes complex and highly technical, never being enjoyed by everyone mainly through the sense of smell. "Garnier's interdisciplinary practice investigates the nature of reality at the molecular, physical and social level, experimenting with new materiality and concepts developed by Vignolini group. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact Generation of awareness in the public 
URL https://www.mondriaanfonds.nl/pcprofiel/laurent-david-garnier/
 
Title PODCAST IN MATERIALS TODAY 
Description PODCAST 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact CULTURAL 
 
Description We studied how plants produce structural colours, (colure that arise from nano-structured materials instead than from pigmentation). Plants produce this effect using cellulose helicoidal architectures. In this context, we successfully accomplish to isolate and characterise cellulose from structurally coloured plant tissues. We characterised the isolated materials using NMR and we analysed its morphology using AFM. In parallel, we developed a fabrication procedure to obtain large are and bright nano-structured cellulose films with desired coloration on large scale (m^2).
Exploitation Route -Other people are using our techniques to investigate structural colour in nature
-Many companies are interested in using out technology to produce novel colorants for food and cosmetics.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Education,Energy

URL http://www.ch.cam.ac.uk/group/vignolini/research
 
Description The results of our publications related to this grant have been highlighted in scientific journal and as well in newspaper and television. The increasing interest in the bio-mimetic topic, provided me useful contact with industry that are interested in our technology, several companies are now collaborating with us, we have several patent which we are trying to licence. Moreover, I also have been contacted by many students at different level in their education. Therefore I strongly believe that we are more in general generating a lot of interested interest in scientific topic at the boundaries of disciplines and at the same time promoting the figure of woman in science.
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Education
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description ALBORADA Research Grant
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Cambridge 
Department Alborada Research Fund
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2016 
End 03/2018
 
Description ERC starting grant
Amount € 1,500,000 (EUR)
Funding ID SESAME 
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2015 
End 09/2020
 
Description EU H2020-MSCA-IF-2015 Marie Curie
Amount € 250,000 (EUR)
Organisation Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions 
Sector Academic/University
Country Global
Start 01/2017 
End 11/2020
 
Description EU H2020-MSCA-IF-2015 Marie Curie
Amount £137,000 (GBP)
Organisation Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions 
Sector Academic/University
Country Global
Start 03/2016 
End 03/2018
 
Description EU H2020-MSCA-IF-2015 Marie Curie
Amount £140,000 (GBP)
Organisation Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions 
Sector Academic/University
Country Global
Start 02/2017 
End 01/2019
 
Description EU H2020-MSCA-IF-2017 Marie Curie
Amount € 140,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 08/2018 
End 09/2020
 
Description EU Innovative Training Networks H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016
Amount £2,400,000 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission 
Department Horizon 2020
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2020
 
Description H2020 ERC Proof of Concept ERC-PoC-2017
Amount € 150,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 06/2018 
End 12/2019
 
Description Isaac Newton Trust Research Grant Application
Amount £40,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Cambridge 
Department Isaac Newton Trust
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2014 
End 11/2016
 
Description Outward Knowledge Transfer Fellowship EPSRC
Amount £38,000 (GBP)
Organisation Knowledge Transfer Network 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2015 
End 09/2015
 
Description Royal Society International Exchanges Scheme 2014/R2
Amount £6,000 (GBP)
Funding ID IE140719 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 10/2015
 
Description Swiss National Science Foundation Fellowship
Amount SFr. 72,750 (CHF)
Organisation Swiss National Science Foundation 
Sector Public
Country Switzerland
Start 05/2016 
End 10/2017
 
Title Optical Microscopy and Spectroscopy 
Description Reflection/Transmission measurement coupled with imaging 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Allowed other to perform measurements to characterise optical response form plants 
 
Title Research data supporting "Bio-inspired Highly Scattering Networks via Polymer Phase Separation" 
Description Original or unprocessed data is provided in support of the article "Bio-inspired Highly Scattering Networks via Polymer Phase Separation". The article was accepted for publication in 2018 in the journal "Advanced Functional Materials". Electronic Supporting Information is available from the publisher. The data is structured into two folders, each correlating to a specific data type presented in the published article. Folder 1: photographs and experimental data to reproduce the figures in the main text and in the supplementary information. Folder 2: unprocessed movies used in the supplementary information. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting "Controlling the Photonic Properties of Cholesteric Cellulose Nanocrystal Films with Magnets" 
Description The data are organized and grouped in dedicated .zip files for each Figure they contribute to. All figures (ToC, Figures 1-4 and SI_1-17) are present in high resolution in each sub-folder. Software for file extensions: .mi (Gwyddion), .mat, .m and .fig (MATLAB), .blend (Blender). The following Info is also available in README_OpenData.pdf: *** ToC. Original photographs (.jpg) Figure 1. Original photographs (.jpg) Figure 2. Original graphics 2A-F (.png, .fig) spectrometer settings (.mat) Original photographs (Figure 2K) Figure 3. Original microscopy photographs (Figures 3A-L) (.png) and scale bar (.png) Bertrand lens and k-space calibration with grating (.png, .xlsx, xls) Figure 4. Original SEM photographs (.tif) Figure S1. AFM (.tiff, .mi) Figure S2. Titration file (.xlsx, xls, .png) Figure S3. Original photographs (.jpg) Sample preparation and Phase diagram (.xlsx, xls) Figure S4. Original photographs (.jgp) evaporation rate (.xlsx, xls) Figure S5. Original photographs (.jgp) Figure S6. Original photographs (.jgp) Figure S7. Original photographs (.jgp) Figure S8. Original photographs and schematics (.png) Figure S9. Original photographs and schematics (.jpg, .png) Figure S10. Original SEM images (.tif) Figure S11. Original SEM images (.tif) Figure S12. Original SEM images (.tif) Figure S13. Original SEM images (.tif) Figure S14. Experimental magnetic field mapped of the tilted field geometry (.xlsx, .xls) Visualization of the magnetic field for tilted field geometries (.m, .png, .fig) 3D schematic of the two magnets with the iron plate (.png, .blend) Visualization of the magnetic field for simple geometries (.pdf, .png) Figure S15. Computing of the magnetic field for the tilted field geometry (magnetic_field_calculated_mapping.xlsx, .xls) Computed magnetic field for the tilted field geometry (TwoMagVertAndTwoMagUpsideDown.xlsx, .xls) Script in MATLAB to create the figures (.m) Original graphic files (.fig, .png) Figure S16. Original figures (.fig, .png) Script in MATLAB illustrating the formula used to create the fits (.m) fit datapoints (.txt) Figure S17. Original photography (.jpg) 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting "Development of structural colour in leaf beetles" 
Description Original or unprocessed data is provided in support of the article "Development of structural colour in leaf beetles". The article was accepted for publication in 2017 in the journal "Scientific Reports". Electronic supporting Information is available from the publisher. The data is structured into eight folders, each correlating to a specific data type presented in the published article. Folder 1: Photographs of the beetles at different stages of life. Folder 2: the data sets used to reconstruct the 3D volumes shown in Figure 2 (Synchrotron microtomography) in the manuscript. Folder 3: the complete set of TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy) images available. The folder is further subdivided by beetle's stage of life. Folder 4: optical microscope images before processing. The scale bar is included for reference. Folder 5 is relative to the Figure 5 in the manuscript: it is divided into two folders. The first one contains the Python code used to generate the simulated spectra. This file also includes the input files (i.e. the layer thickness as measured from the TEM sections). The second main folder includes the MATLAB files used to generate Fig.5 (that is, the experimental spectra collected by optical microspectroscopy and the simulated signal). In folder "Supporting", one can find the two supporting video and the MATLAB code used to generate the supplementary images and the relative input files. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting "Genetic manipulation of structural colour in bacterial colonies" 
Description This data supports the publication "Living colours: Genetic manipulation of structural colour in bacterial colonies" and consists of electron microscopy images, a microscope video and goniometer data. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting ?Anomalous Diffusion-Assisted Brightness in White Cellulose Nanofibril Membranes? 
Description Original or unprocessed data is provided in support of the article ?Anomalous Diffusion-Assisted Brightness in White Cellulose Nanofibril Membranes?. The article was accepted for publication in 2018 in the journal "Advanced Materials". Electronic Supporting Information is available from the publisher. The data is structured into folders, each correlating to a specific data type presented in the published article. In the raw data, the transparent membranes are referred to as ?N1?, the semi-transparent ones are referred to as ?N2? and the white one as ?D2?. This prefix is followed by a letter to indicate a specific sample in the series (see folder 1 for more details). Folder 1: Photographs of the samples and recordings of their thicknesses as measured with the profilometer. This folder also includes the original files to produce the schematics in Figure 1a and Figure 4c. Folder 2: this sets of folders concerns the optical measurements performed on the samples. Folder 3: complete set of Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images. Folder 4: files used to analyse the speckle patterns. Folder 5: data regarding the characterisation of the cellulose nanofibers. This includes the Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) raw data and the nitrogen physisorption results. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Description AnomalousDiffusionAssisted Brightness in White Cellulose Nanofibril Membranes 
Organisation Aalto University
Department Department of Applied Physics
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Characterization of the optical properties of cellulose-based, scattering materials
Collaborator Contribution •Fabrication of the samples
Impact • Research paper: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/adma.201704050
Start Year 2017
 
Description Bio-inspired photonics for enhanced microalgal photosynthesis in biofuel production 
Organisation Northwestern College
PI Contribution The aim of the project is to fabricate bio-inspired microalgal photosynthesis bioreactors for biofuel production exploiting phonic systems observed in corrals. The nano-photonic and structural characteristics of coral tissue (incl. cnidocytes, epidermis, mesoglea) and coral skeleton (inorganic aragonite crystallites, organic matrices) will be characterised in Cambridge. The group is expert in nanophotonic and structural characterisation of living organisms and thus a range of state of the art techniques are available. Wavelength-dependent transmission, reflectance and absorption will be characterised in living cells and organic material using angular resolved scattering. The measurements require a strong theoretical understanding of optics and involve advanced mathematical modelling (such as finite-difference time- domain modelling), which is the expertise of Dr Vignolini. The nanoscale photonic properties will be studied along with morphological and structural characterization of cells and other organic materials in the vignolini group . This will be assessed using conventional methods such as scanning electron micrscopy and transmission electron microscopy at Cambridge where the Vignolini group has recently gained access to a brand new cryo-TEM facility.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Deheyn in UCSD is committed to host Dr Daniel Wangpraseurt from the Vignolini group during his stay at SIO and will provide a fully functional office space as well as laboratory/bench space. Deheyn will provide the candidate also with logistics support in order to facilitate his social and professional immersion into the new research environment. The Deheyn lab is heavily involved with biomimicry in San Diego (biomimicrysandiego.org), Europe (biomimicryswitzerland.org) and Africa (biomimicrysa.co.za) which will allow Dr Wangpraseurt to build a strong international network. The lab has all the required facilities for the experimental work proposed, with a few exceptions, which will be provided by collaborating partners in the project.
Impact Conference Participation: Gordon Conference for Multifunctional materials and structures, Ventura, California USA (Jan 2018) Poster presentation: 'Coral inspired living photosynthetic matter'
Start Year 2017
 
Description Bio-inspired photonics for enhanced microalgal photosynthesis in biofuel production 
Organisation University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
Department Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The aim of the project is to fabricate bio-inspired microalgal photosynthesis bioreactors for biofuel production exploiting phonic systems observed in corrals. The nano-photonic and structural characteristics of coral tissue (incl. cnidocytes, epidermis, mesoglea) and coral skeleton (inorganic aragonite crystallites, organic matrices) will be characterised in Cambridge. The group is expert in nanophotonic and structural characterisation of living organisms and thus a range of state of the art techniques are available. Wavelength-dependent transmission, reflectance and absorption will be characterised in living cells and organic material using angular resolved scattering. The measurements require a strong theoretical understanding of optics and involve advanced mathematical modelling (such as finite-difference time- domain modelling), which is the expertise of Dr Vignolini. The nanoscale photonic properties will be studied along with morphological and structural characterization of cells and other organic materials in the vignolini group . This will be assessed using conventional methods such as scanning electron micrscopy and transmission electron microscopy at Cambridge where the Vignolini group has recently gained access to a brand new cryo-TEM facility.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Deheyn in UCSD is committed to host Dr Daniel Wangpraseurt from the Vignolini group during his stay at SIO and will provide a fully functional office space as well as laboratory/bench space. Deheyn will provide the candidate also with logistics support in order to facilitate his social and professional immersion into the new research environment. The Deheyn lab is heavily involved with biomimicry in San Diego (biomimicrysandiego.org), Europe (biomimicryswitzerland.org) and Africa (biomimicrysa.co.za) which will allow Dr Wangpraseurt to build a strong international network. The lab has all the required facilities for the experimental work proposed, with a few exceptions, which will be provided by collaborating partners in the project.
Impact Conference Participation: Gordon Conference for Multifunctional materials and structures, Ventura, California USA (Jan 2018) Poster presentation: 'Coral inspired living photosynthetic matter'
Start Year 2017
 
Description Bio-inspired photonics for enhanced microalgal photosynthesis in biofuel production 
Organisation University of Copenhagen
Department Department of Biology
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The aim of the project is to fabricate bio-inspired microalgal photosynthesis bioreactors for biofuel production exploiting phonic systems observed in corrals. The nano-photonic and structural characteristics of coral tissue (incl. cnidocytes, epidermis, mesoglea) and coral skeleton (inorganic aragonite crystallites, organic matrices) will be characterised in Cambridge. The group is expert in nanophotonic and structural characterisation of living organisms and thus a range of state of the art techniques are available. Wavelength-dependent transmission, reflectance and absorption will be characterised in living cells and organic material using angular resolved scattering. The measurements require a strong theoretical understanding of optics and involve advanced mathematical modelling (such as finite-difference time- domain modelling), which is the expertise of Dr Vignolini. The nanoscale photonic properties will be studied along with morphological and structural characterization of cells and other organic materials in the vignolini group . This will be assessed using conventional methods such as scanning electron micrscopy and transmission electron microscopy at Cambridge where the Vignolini group has recently gained access to a brand new cryo-TEM facility.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Deheyn in UCSD is committed to host Dr Daniel Wangpraseurt from the Vignolini group during his stay at SIO and will provide a fully functional office space as well as laboratory/bench space. Deheyn will provide the candidate also with logistics support in order to facilitate his social and professional immersion into the new research environment. The Deheyn lab is heavily involved with biomimicry in San Diego (biomimicrysandiego.org), Europe (biomimicryswitzerland.org) and Africa (biomimicrysa.co.za) which will allow Dr Wangpraseurt to build a strong international network. The lab has all the required facilities for the experimental work proposed, with a few exceptions, which will be provided by collaborating partners in the project.
Impact Conference Participation: Gordon Conference for Multifunctional materials and structures, Ventura, California USA (Jan 2018) Poster presentation: 'Coral inspired living photosynthetic matter'
Start Year 2017
 
Description Bio-inspired photonics for enhanced microalgal photosynthesis in biofuel production 
Organisation University of Southampton
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The aim of the project is to fabricate bio-inspired microalgal photosynthesis bioreactors for biofuel production exploiting phonic systems observed in corrals. The nano-photonic and structural characteristics of coral tissue (incl. cnidocytes, epidermis, mesoglea) and coral skeleton (inorganic aragonite crystallites, organic matrices) will be characterised in Cambridge. The group is expert in nanophotonic and structural characterisation of living organisms and thus a range of state of the art techniques are available. Wavelength-dependent transmission, reflectance and absorption will be characterised in living cells and organic material using angular resolved scattering. The measurements require a strong theoretical understanding of optics and involve advanced mathematical modelling (such as finite-difference time- domain modelling), which is the expertise of Dr Vignolini. The nanoscale photonic properties will be studied along with morphological and structural characterization of cells and other organic materials in the vignolini group . This will be assessed using conventional methods such as scanning electron micrscopy and transmission electron microscopy at Cambridge where the Vignolini group has recently gained access to a brand new cryo-TEM facility.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Deheyn in UCSD is committed to host Dr Daniel Wangpraseurt from the Vignolini group during his stay at SIO and will provide a fully functional office space as well as laboratory/bench space. Deheyn will provide the candidate also with logistics support in order to facilitate his social and professional immersion into the new research environment. The Deheyn lab is heavily involved with biomimicry in San Diego (biomimicrysandiego.org), Europe (biomimicryswitzerland.org) and Africa (biomimicrysa.co.za) which will allow Dr Wangpraseurt to build a strong international network. The lab has all the required facilities for the experimental work proposed, with a few exceptions, which will be provided by collaborating partners in the project.
Impact Conference Participation: Gordon Conference for Multifunctional materials and structures, Ventura, California USA (Jan 2018) Poster presentation: 'Coral inspired living photosynthetic matter'
Start Year 2017
 
Description Bioinspired Highly Scattering Networks via Polymer Phase Separation" 
Organisation Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Characterization of the optical properties of PMMA-based, scattering materials
Collaborator Contribution Fabrication of the samples
Impact Research paper: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/adfm.201706901
Start Year 2016
 
Description Biomimetic photonic cellulose films 
Organisation National Center for Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS)
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaborators involved in the project include my PhD supervisors S. Vignolini in the Bio-Inspired Photonics team of Cambridge and L. Heux in CERMAV - Grenoble. Many people from both teams also take part in the project, e.g. B. Frka-Petesic and A. Narkevicius in Cambridge, This PhD project is by essence interdisciplinary. A PhD student is working in both labs in Grenoble and in Cambridge depending on the needs of the project. In 2018, he spent two months in Cambridge in order to get to know about the photonics of the system, perform CNC drying in organic solvents and extend my approach to other polysaccharides such as chitin.
Collaborator Contribution The student was trained in Grenoble working on the chiral-nematic assembly of cellulose nanocrystals, the field alignment of such assemblies and the polymerization of composites working under supervision of Y. Navon, J. Leguy and Y. Nishiyama in Grenoble.
Impact not yet, we are aiming for a high impact article on the field alignment and polymerization of cellulose nanocrystals composites as a result of the collaboration.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Coherent backscattering of light by an anisotropic biological network 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Characterization and simulation of the scattering properties of the Cyphochilus beetle
Collaborator Contribution Guidance in the understanding of the results and designing of the project
Impact Research paper: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsfs.2018.0050
Start Year 2016
 
Description Coherent backscattering of light by an anisotropic biological network 
Organisation University of Calabria
Department Department of Physics
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Characterization and simulation of the scattering properties of the Cyphochilus beetle
Collaborator Contribution Guidance in the understanding of the results and designing of the project
Impact Research paper: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsfs.2018.0050
Start Year 2016
 
Description Coherent backscattering of light by an anisotropic biological network 
Organisation University of Exeter
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Characterization and simulation of the scattering properties of the Cyphochilus beetle
Collaborator Contribution Guidance in the understanding of the results and designing of the project
Impact Research paper: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsfs.2018.0050
Start Year 2016
 
Description Fabrication and optical characterisation of ultra-white cellulose membranes for application as white pigments. 
Organisation Aalto University
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Study the optical response of the material fabricated by Aalto
Collaborator Contribution prepare the materials and performed materials characterisation
Impact Anomalous-Diffusion-Assisted Brightness in White Cellulose Nanofibril Membranes in press Adv Mat
Start Year 2017
 
Description Light scattering in natural photonic materials 
Organisation University of Florence
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Cyphochilus beetle, which is native to South-East Asia, is whiter than paper, thanks to ultra-thin scales which cover its body. We investigate the optical properties of these scales, we have 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.
Collaborator Contribution We provided the material and we designed the experiment. We used the laser facilities in LENS to study the optical response. The group of Diederik Wiersma in Florence sent students and used our Electron Microscopy facilities here in CambridgeI, they also offered theoretical support.
Impact Several publication. We apply for further funding to continue the collaboration and expand it to bio-mimetic structures.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Liquid crystal phases of GLAD silica helices 
Organisation University of Stuttgart
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Designed experiments with collaborators, tested colloidal stability of particles, perform SEM and DLS measurements
Collaborator Contribution Synthesis of the silica helices by glancing angle physical vapour deposition (GLAD). Design of experiments.
Impact multidisciplinary activity, preliminary data collected.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Mesoporous chiral nematic silica templated by cellulose nanocrystals 
Organisation University of British Columbia
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We analysed the angular dependence of optical properties of self-assembled CNC films as well as of composite CNC/silica films produced using CNCs as chiral nematic nanotemplate agent.
Collaborator Contribution They developed the technology to form CNC/silica nanocomposite films that can reflect in the visible and present better mechanical properties than regular CNC films, as well as enhanced colorimetric effect upon solvent swelling. They provided the samples to us for analysis of their angular optical properties.
Impact The addition of silica strongly modifies the angular properties of the films and we related this to the impact it has on the kinetic arrest upon drying. A manuscript has been drafted and will soon be submitted. Multi-disciplinarity: colloidal nanotemplating, cholesterics, colloidal liquid crystals, cellulose nanocrystals, sol-gel silica condensation, optical reflectors, casting dispersions, angular-resolved optical spectroscopy.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Mesoporous tin dioxide templated by cellulose nanocrystals for gas sensing 
Organisation Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU Munich)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We provided Cellulose Nanocrystals samples and their handling expertise for nanotemplating of tin oxide for sensors
Collaborator Contribution They produce a mesoporous tin dioxide membrane produced using our CNCs as sacrificial nanotemplate agent as a low-cost gas sensors such as for carbon monoxide detection
Impact They produced sensors that displays high porosity and leads to excellent response time. A manuscript has been drafted and will soon be submitted.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Modelling of cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) self-assembly. Collaboration with 
Organisation Utrecht University
Department Department of Physics and Astronomy
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We provided the experimental study of the self-assembly of cellulose nanocrystals in suspension and explore their phase diagram in conditions that are compatible with simulation studies.
Collaborator Contribution They have expertise to compute the self-assembly behaviour of chiral colloidal species in crowded environment using Monte Carlo simulations and predict the macroscopic properties of the phase diagram from microscopic parameters of the individual particles. This allows addressing the precise mechanism driving the CNC twisting, as its control is essential to any application. This is a fundamental study aiming to identify what causes the twist, with the final aim of being able to modify it on demand.
Impact They have produced a fast computing algorithm able to account for the complex size of the cellulose nanocrystals and produced comparative phase diagrams that correspond qualitatively to the observed features in the experimental samples. These results help us to understand the features explaining the twisting behaviour of CNC as they self-assemble. Additional experiments and simulations are planned to improve the quantitative agreement between experiments and simulations although already some material is publishable at that stage. Multi-disciplinarity: cellulose nanocrystals, cholesteric, colloidal liquid crystals, phase diagram, modelling, Monte Carlo simulations.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Modelling of the optical properties of a cellulose-based photonic structure 
Organisation Institute of Optics Bordeaux
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution our research team is designing and carrying out experiments to understand how the physical and chemical characteristics of the material properties influence the optical properties of a cellulose-based photonic structure and what are the important parameters governing the observed optical properties. I am working on modelling the optical response of my system finely to match experimental data.
Collaborator Contribution Kevin Vynck trained the reasercher on the optics that relate to my system from April 16 to June 30, 2018, when I did an internship at the LP2N - Light in Complex Nanostructures group. This group has indeed expertise on light propagation and modelling regarding such structures. Kevin Vynck also provided the starting model.
Impact Both groups are working on optics. The Bio-inspired Photonics group has more expertise on the material and chemistry of the cellulose-based photonic structure and on experimental optical characterisation of such structures. The Light in Complex Nanostructures group has more expertise on modelling of the optical properties of such systems.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Optical response of Biomimetic Structure 
Organisation Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We study the optical response of phonic materials produced in KIT
Collaborator Contribution KIT scientist fabricated the materials.
Impact 2 publications accepted and 1 patent filed in Germany. Published works: (DOI: 10.1038/srep36204) (DOI: 10.1038/lsa.2017.15)
Start Year 2015
 
Description Photonic structures in Plants 
Organisation Adolphe Merkle Institute
Country Switzerland 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution ollia condensata fruits are instead 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. Also flowers can produce iridescencent colours via diffraction gratings-like structures. In many flower species, the presence of surface striations in the epidermal layer gives rise to an angular colour variation. The iridescence on the petal of Hibiscus trionum can be captured by a camera in daylight illumination.
Collaborator Contribution We characterise the optical response and the materials composition of plants that have phonetic structures. This work is necessary in order to to understand the type of architectures in the cell wall that produce this optical effect and how plant assemble them.The group of Prof. Beverley Glover in Cambridge provides us the plant material such as fruits and flowers with photonic structures. The group of Paula Rudall in Kew perform the anatomical characterisation of the cell wall.
Impact We achieved many publications on the field of photonic structures in plants.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Photonic structures in Plants 
Organisation Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Department Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution ollia condensata fruits are instead 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. Also flowers can produce iridescencent colours via diffraction gratings-like structures. In many flower species, the presence of surface striations in the epidermal layer gives rise to an angular colour variation. The iridescence on the petal of Hibiscus trionum can be captured by a camera in daylight illumination.
Collaborator Contribution We characterise the optical response and the materials composition of plants that have phonetic structures. This work is necessary in order to to understand the type of architectures in the cell wall that produce this optical effect and how plant assemble them.The group of Prof. Beverley Glover in Cambridge provides us the plant material such as fruits and flowers with photonic structures. The group of Paula Rudall in Kew perform the anatomical characterisation of the cell wall.
Impact We achieved many publications on the field of photonic structures in plants.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Photonic structures in Plants 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department Department of Plant Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution ollia condensata fruits are instead 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. Also flowers can produce iridescencent colours via diffraction gratings-like structures. In many flower species, the presence of surface striations in the epidermal layer gives rise to an angular colour variation. The iridescence on the petal of Hibiscus trionum can be captured by a camera in daylight illumination.
Collaborator Contribution We characterise the optical response and the materials composition of plants that have phonetic structures. This work is necessary in order to to understand the type of architectures in the cell wall that produce this optical effect and how plant assemble them.The group of Prof. Beverley Glover in Cambridge provides us the plant material such as fruits and flowers with photonic structures. The group of Paula Rudall in Kew perform the anatomical characterisation of the cell wall.
Impact We achieved many publications on the field of photonic structures in plants.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Plant-Inspired Materials and Surfaces 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department Department of Plant Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Plant-Inspired Materials and Surfaces (PlaMatSu) is an Innovative Training Network (ITN), funded by the European Commission's Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions. It allows nine PhD students to work at three leading European universities in the field of bio-inspired materials: University of Fribourg (Switzerland), University of Freiburg (Germany) and University of Cambridge (UK). This academic network of excellence is strengthened by the industrial partners BASF SE (Germany), fischerwerke GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), Mars Chocolate (UK) and Dr. Tillwich GmbH Werner Stehr (Germany), as well as by the communication partners VDI - The Association of German Engineers and Wikimedia CH.
Collaborator Contribution PlaMatSu brings together distinguished plant biologists, polymer chemists and soft matter physicists to study the development, structure and properties of multifunctional plant cuticles on a fundamental level and to create novel materials and surfaces based on the working principles of cuticles. This external layer of bio-polymers and wax protects leaves and flowers and serves many functions for the plant. It can, for example, use its pores to adjust water permeability and thus regulate water evaporation, the absorption of carbon dioxide, and the release of oxygen. Moreover, its complex surface structure is responsible for a number of other functions at the micrometer and sub-micrometer level, such as self-cleaning, the formation of structural color and the regulation of insect-adhesion. Understanding the formation of these surfaces will lead to the development of functional materials such as structurally colored surfaces, materials capable of dispensing lubrication in a controlled fashion, structures that can repel insects or membranes that can control moisture permeability. Innovative training networks are part of the European Commission's Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and provide students with the opportunity to pursue their academic training within an international multidisciplinary framework along with temporary industrial internships. The aim is to boost scientific excellence and business innovation, and enhances researchers' career prospects through developing their skills in entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. PlaMatSu´s doctoral candidates will profit from a network of interdisciplinary laboratories (chemistry, physics, biology and materials science), existing competence centers for bio-inspired research at the participating universities, such as the Swiss NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials, and in addition follow practical courses in technology transfer, management and communication to complement their qualifications in research and development.
Impact Innovative training networks form the European Commission's Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions obtained/ Paper published DOI: 10.1038/nature24285) multidisciplinary, contributed to physics side of the work
Start Year 2016
 
Description Plant-Inspired Materials and Surfaces 
Organisation University of Fribourg
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Plant-Inspired Materials and Surfaces (PlaMatSu) is an Innovative Training Network (ITN), funded by the European Commission's Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions. It allows nine PhD students to work at three leading European universities in the field of bio-inspired materials: University of Fribourg (Switzerland), University of Freiburg (Germany) and University of Cambridge (UK). This academic network of excellence is strengthened by the industrial partners BASF SE (Germany), fischerwerke GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), Mars Chocolate (UK) and Dr. Tillwich GmbH Werner Stehr (Germany), as well as by the communication partners VDI - The Association of German Engineers and Wikimedia CH.
Collaborator Contribution PlaMatSu brings together distinguished plant biologists, polymer chemists and soft matter physicists to study the development, structure and properties of multifunctional plant cuticles on a fundamental level and to create novel materials and surfaces based on the working principles of cuticles. This external layer of bio-polymers and wax protects leaves and flowers and serves many functions for the plant. It can, for example, use its pores to adjust water permeability and thus regulate water evaporation, the absorption of carbon dioxide, and the release of oxygen. Moreover, its complex surface structure is responsible for a number of other functions at the micrometer and sub-micrometer level, such as self-cleaning, the formation of structural color and the regulation of insect-adhesion. Understanding the formation of these surfaces will lead to the development of functional materials such as structurally colored surfaces, materials capable of dispensing lubrication in a controlled fashion, structures that can repel insects or membranes that can control moisture permeability. Innovative training networks are part of the European Commission's Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and provide students with the opportunity to pursue their academic training within an international multidisciplinary framework along with temporary industrial internships. The aim is to boost scientific excellence and business innovation, and enhances researchers' career prospects through developing their skills in entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. PlaMatSu´s doctoral candidates will profit from a network of interdisciplinary laboratories (chemistry, physics, biology and materials science), existing competence centers for bio-inspired research at the participating universities, such as the Swiss NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials, and in addition follow practical courses in technology transfer, management and communication to complement their qualifications in research and development.
Impact Innovative training networks form the European Commission's Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions obtained/ Paper published DOI: 10.1038/nature24285) multidisciplinary, contributed to physics side of the work
Start Year 2016
 
Description Silk-Cellulose Composite Materials 
Organisation Tufts University
Department Department of Biomedical Engineering
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We combined silk fibroin and cellulose nanocrystals into composite materials with self-assembled nanostructures combining the complementary mechanical and optical properties of the two starting materials.
Collaborator Contribution provide expertise in silk fibroin extraction, purification and self-assembly behaviour. Provide the silk fibroin samples and their characterisation.
Impact These two biosourced, biocompatible and renewable materials display excellent transparency and complementary mechanical and adherence properties, up-grading the usually brittle and fragile CNC films into resistant photonic coatings. This was presented in a talk at the MRS conference (Nov. 2016), Boston MA, USA, and a manuscript is in preparation. Multi-disciplinarity: optics, coatings, biomaterials, biopolymers, protein-polysaccharide interactions
Start Year 2014
 
Description Structural Colour in Algae 
Organisation Natural History Museum
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Structural colouration is widespread in the marine environment. Marine macroalgae represent a large and diverse group of more than 24,700 species , of which some have developed complex optical responses using different structures and materials. The aim of this collaboration is to study structural colours in marine algae investigating both the physical mechanisms and materials responsible of such effects, and their biological significance and evolution. In the following, the project's methodologies and objectives are organized into two work packages (WPs).
Collaborator Contribution The two supervisors, Dr. Silvia Vignolini and Prof. Juliet Brodie bring highly complementary and unique expertise, which will enable rigorous characterisation of optical responses from natural photonic structures and an understanding of how materials are assembled to produce them in conjunction with an evolutionary context. The two PIs have complementary knowledge and the project could not exist without their joint expertise. In particular, SV does not have the necessary skills to identify and locate different species in fieldwork, while JB lacks equipment and expertise to optically characterise the photonic structures.
Impact SV and JB started collaborating in 2014 they have already published a paper (Chandler et al. 5, 11645 Sci Rep (2015)) and they have another one submitted. The work published in Scientific Reports received considerable attention in the press: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3150928/Mystery-colour-shifting-seaweed-solved-Irish-moss-changes-hue-plate-like-structures-finding-lead-waterproof-sunblock.html - www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3150928/Mystery-colour, http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27837-forget-the-whiteblue-dress-is-this-seaweed-blue-or-red.html - www.newscientist.com/article/dn27837-forget-the-whiteblue-dress-is-this-seaweed-blue-or-red.html%2523.VZt4zLf39W0. The fact that the project's aims cross different disciplines also makes it engaging for the general public. In order to maximize the impact on society, we will make timely contact with mass media (radio, TV and press) to coincide with important publications; this will raise public awareness and understanding of science.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Structural colour of Microsorum thailandicum 
Organisation University of Bristol
Department School of Biological Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Microsorum thailandicum is a rainforest understorey fern exhibiting strong blue iridescence. Interestingly, also the abaxial surface of the leaf is structurally coloured, but it mostly reflects in the green and red part of the spectrum. Investigating the ultrastructure of this leaf, we found that the first two layers of epidermal cells have a thickened cell wall, made of helicoidally arranged cellulose fibres. This helicoidal structure reflects left-handed circularly polarised light with a wavelength following ? = 2 n p, where n is the average refractive index, and p is the pitch, the distance until the helix built of cellulose fibres has rotated by 180°. The pitch measured from electron microscopy images was correlated to the optical response observed via microphoto- spectroscopy by modelling the helicoidal structures by analytical calculations. We found that the reflected wavelengths vary significantly between cells, both on the adaxial and abaxial surface, in the same way as they vary within a single cell. Remarkably, the reflection from the abaxial epidermis is red-shifted with respect to the adaxial one, meaning the helicoidal cellulose structure has a bigger pitch, and the distribution of reflected wavelengths is much wider for the abaxial epidermis as well. These two observations mean that more material has to be deposited between the cellulose fibres to obtain more spacing between the layers and thus a bigger pitch, and also that the cell wall deposition in the abaxial epidermal layer is less regular. This study aims to inspire further studies on how the cell wall is laid down as well as on the function of structural colouration of leaves
Collaborator Contribution Provided plants
Impact now we obtained a pubblciaiton: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2018.0055
Start Year 2017
 
Description Structural coloured cellulose-based materials for food colouring 
Organisation Mars Incorporated UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The food industry has long relied on the use of complex synthetic dyes to produce colours and effects (e.g. hues, brightness, shine). A novel class of materials that could produce the same diversity of colours and effects from standard pigment, eliminating the need for synthetic dyes, would deliver increased consumer acceptance and appeal while introducing great opportunities for product innovation. The purpose of this collaboration is to work with Mars to test the possibility of scalingup production and fabrication of cellulose film to colour chocolate.
Collaborator Contribution Wel produced cellulose nanocrystals using standard acid hydrolysis treatment of cotton, we tested the assembly of commercial cellulose nanocrystals from Maine in order to be able to explore the possibility of using commercial base materials. We prepared large area, environmentally controlled containers for casting the films and successfully produced the materials.
Impact Successful in ITN network where the PI and MARS are involved
Start Year 2015
 
Description Studying structural colour in Flavobacterium Iridescent 1 colonies 
Organisation Hoekmine B.V.
PI Contribution Study the optical response of the bacterias, We characterise the optics of the bacteria colonies when grown under different conditions. In addition, we experiment on ways to grow the bacteria in 3D (currently they only grow in a film, in 2D).
Collaborator Contribution Hoekmine BV concerns itself with the biological side of the research. They create mutants of the bacteria, to figure out what biological mechanisms cause the self-assembly of the bacteria. In addition, they experiment on the conditions in which the bacteria grow and organise well (which nutrients, temperature etc.).
Impact - The following paper has been published on the work: Johansen, Villads Egede, et al. "Genetic manipulation of structural color in bacterial colonies." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115.11 (2018): 2652-2657. The work is multi-disciplinary. Hoekmine BV studies the biological questions that arise for these bacteria. We then examine the physical mechanisms that cause the colours. In addition, we use chemistry to construct new matrices to grow the bacteria in 3D.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Undestad helicoidal structures in the plant cell wall of structurally coloured fruits 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department Department of Biochemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The fruit Margaritaria nobilis displays beautiful iridescent blue colouration. This structural colour is caused by the helicoidal arrangement of cellulose fibres in its secondary cell wall. We studied what building blocks this cell wall is made up of and what properties they have. Firstly, the cellulose fibres were isolated via chemical purifications, and their morphology and crystallinity were assessed via electron and atomic force microscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography, respectively. The fibres were found to be exceptionally short and relatively highly crystalline. Secondly, xylan was analysed via enzyme digestions, gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. Xylan is a type of hemicellulose, found in high amounts in this cell wall, and is found to be fairly short as well, and regular. It is speculated that xylan may play a role in the helicoidal arrangement of the cellulose fibres. Finally, all the cell wall components were quantified to build up a cell wall model for this amazing fruit endocarp. All these findings shine light on the complex unit that is a secondary plant cell wall, and help to understand how a plant can produce such a vibrant optical response from simple organic building blocks.
Collaborator Contribution Partner assisted and guided us to extra and characterise xylan from the plants.
Impact none yet
Start Year 2016
 
Title HIGHLY SCATTERING POROUS MATERIAL BASED ON FIBRILLAR, ELONGATED, OR DISK-LIKE PARTICLES 
Description Structural colouration is responsible for many different fade resistant colours found in nature, such as the white Cyphochilus beetle (above). Dr Silvia Vignolini and her team in the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge and her collaborators at the University of Aalto, have developed a process for producing bright white (highly scattering) films with nanofibrillated cellulose (also above). This is expected to enable a new generation of pigment-free, biodegradable, white material as a potential replacement for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The team is now keen to collaborate with partners to validate this exciting new material. Initial applications include food colouring and cosmetics. 
IP Reference WO2019063647 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2018
Licensed No
Impact under evalaution
 
Title SELF-ASSEMBLED NANOCRYSTALS 
Description The invention provides a particle having self-assembled nanocrystals, where the particle has a chiral nematic phase and the chiral nematic phase has a radial alignment within the particle, a dye composition comprising the particle, and methods for preparing the particle using fluidic techniques. 
IP Reference WO2018033584 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2018
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact companies collaborations
 
Title SERS-Substrat und Verfahren zum Herstellen eines SERS-Substrats 
Description Verfahren zum Herstellen eines SERS-Substrats (10) für die oberflächenverstärkte Raman-Spektroskopie, umfassend die Schritte a) Bereitstellen eines Basissubstrats (1); b) Beschichten einer Oberfläche des Basissubstrats (1) mit einer Mischung aus zumindest zwei Polymeren, die sich hinsichtlich ihrer Löslichkeit und/oder Polarität unterscheiden, wobei ein erstes Polymer der Polymer-Mischung eine Vielzahl an Polymer-Inseln (2) in einer kontinuierlichen, flächigen Phase eines zweiten Polymers (3) in Selbstorganisation bildet; c) Behandeln der Oberfläche des beschichteten Basissubstrats (1) mit einem Lösungsmittel, dabei Lösen der Polymer-Inseln (2) und Bilden einer Vielzahl von Lochstrukturen (5), deren Grund durch das Basissubstrat (1) gebildet wird, und d) Aufbringen einer Metallschicht (4) auf die Oberfläche des beschichteten Basissubstrats (1), wobei die Metallschicht (4) eine Oberfläche des zweiten Polymers (3) und den Grund der Lochstrukturen (5) bedeckt, dadurch Erzeugen metallener Nanostrukturen auf der Oberfläche des Basissubstrats (1). 
IP Reference DE102016114440 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2017
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact comanieas are contacign us
 
Title Self-Assemble Nanocrystals 
Description The present invention describe a method to produce via emulsions microparticles providing structural colours. The process is based on self-assembled cellulose nanocrystals in a confined spherical geometry. Since structural colour is created without the use of chemical pigments (and cellulose is edible, renewable and biocompatible), such materials can be used as novel class of dyes, for example to colour articles such as paper, card and clothes but also for food and cosmetics. 
IP Reference GB1613997.4 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2016
Licensed No
Impact We are now discussing with different companies to Licence the technology. Cambridge Enterprise offers a Consultant to define the strategies to better exploit the technology. Here a list of companies directly interested in the technology: • American Process, Inc. (USA) • Asahi Kasei Corporation (Japan) • AVAPCO (USA) • Axcelon Biopolymers Corporation (Canada) • Betulium (Finland) • BillerudKorsnäs AB (Sweden) • Blue Goose Biorefineries, Inc. (Canada) • Borregard ASA (Norway) • CelluComp Ltd. (UK) • CelluForce (Canada) • Cellulistics (USA) • Daicel Corporation (Japan) • Daicel FineChem Ltd. (Japan) • Essential Dynamics, Inc. (USA) • Forest Products Laboratory (USA) • FPInnovations (Canada) • Georgia Southern University - Herty Advanced Materials Development Center (USA) • Innventia AB (Sweden) • JeNaCell GmbH (Germany) • Melodea Ltd. (Israel) • MoRe Research AB (Sweden) • Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. (Japan) • Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA) • Paper and Fibre Research Institute (PFI) (Norway) • Sappi Ltd. (South Africa) • Stora Enso Oyj (Finland) • The Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) (Switzerland) • Triveni Aromatics and Perfumery Pvt., Ltd. (India) • UPM (Finland) • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. (Finland)
 
Description Derby Lecture at the Nottingham Physics Centre in the University of Nottingham sponsored by the IOP. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact none
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description ACS National Meeting, Boston, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/news-room/meeting-news-releases-fall-2018.html
 
Description ACS National Meeting, San Francisco, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://callforpapers.acs.org/sanfran2017
 
Description August 16th-21st: Green Man Einstein's Garden festival stall, a stall aimed at all ages at a music festival (20 000 people) August 16th-21st 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Outreach stall, a stall aimed at all ages at a music festival explaining the concept of structural colours and how nature uses materials to fabricate optical structures
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Bio-inspired, Nano- and Microstructured Surfaces, Bad Honnef, DE 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.dpg-physik.de/veranstaltungen/2017/644-we-heraeus-seminar-bio-inspired-nano-and-microstr...
 
Description Biological Physics Community Day 2018, Paris, FR 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.lcqb.upmc.fr/parisyoung/2018/
 
Description Cambridge Festival of Ideas' 'Meet the Colour Makers': Family and artists' event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 'Meet the Colour Makers': Family and artists' event, half an hour workshop to explain how colour is created in nature
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Cimtec: "Bio-inspired Materials" 2018, Perugia, IT 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://2018.cimtec-congress.org/8th_forum_on_new_materials
 
Description DINAMO-2 2017, Siglufjörður, IS 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://dinamo2017.nmi.is/
 
Description DPG Spring Meeting 2017, Dresden, DE 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://dresden17.dpg-tagungen.de/index.html?set_language=en&cl=en
 
Description Documentary on Biomimetics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Behind the secret life of materials - Mimicking Nature more than 900 views on youtube.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLmQdDYjAqXUnAELE2EPNcDtuUA1lK-QVI&v=I6FRN38VVNM
 
Description EU Research article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Article on the magazine EU researcher
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://issuu.com/euresearcher/docs/eur14_digital_magazine
 
Description Festival della Scienza" in Genova ITALY 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk to general audience on Biomimetics
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.festivalscienza.it/site/home.html)
 
Description Hello Tomorrow Global Summit, Paris, FR 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://hello-tomorrow.org/summit/previous
 
Description International Workshop on Emerging Applications of Optical Nanostructures, Tel Aviv, ISR 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://ias.tau.ac.il/Workshop-19-2-17
 
Description Living Materials Workshop, Talloires, FR 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Living Materials Workshop, Talloires, FR 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description MRS Fall Symposium BM11, Boston, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.mrs.org/fall2017
 
Description MRS Spring Conference, Phoenix, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.mrs.org/spring2018
 
Description Microscope Donation to the Kenyan researchers in the palaeontology section of Nairobi Museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Silvia Vignolini and PhD student Rox Middleton have visited the National Museums in Kenya to study a Pollia fossil. The researchers used an Axio Scope microscope donated by ZEISS, which they later presented to Kenyan researchers in the palaeontology section of the Museums.

"We were thrilled to have the opportunity to examine the fossil, which was discovered and stored at the Museums in 1989," said Dr Vignolini, whose research group studies plant structures and how they manipulate light to obtain brilliant and iridescent colours. Pollia is a good example, because its fruits are a striking example of iridescent colouration in plants.When the researchers arrived, Dr Fredrick Manthi's team from the National Museums helped them to find and identify the fossil.
The scientists were surprised to find the specimens so well preserved, with an intact leaf and stem structure, which had retained significant numbers of leaves, several with a fruit head. PhD student Rox Middleton said: "It was very exciting to be the first researchers ever to examine the Pollia fruit specimens under the microscope." Earlier this year Rox Middleton received the SET for Britain Silver Award for her research poster on "Biomimetic optical materials made of cellulose."

After a demonstration of the use of the microscope in reflected and transmitted light mode to the Kenyan researchers at the palaeontology section, the ZEISS Axio Scope has now been donated to researchers at the National Museums. "We are proud that local and visiting researchers who travel to the museums from all over the world will now be able to use its advanced capabilities to examine the huge wealth of valuable specimens in the museums," said Dr Vignolini.

The two researchers discovered that the fossil specimens share many characteristics of modern species. "We now understand more about the preservation of the fruit body over the course of 12 million years," said Dr Vignolini. They hope to publish their results early next year.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://blogs.zeiss.com/microscopy/news/en/researchers-from-cambridge-university-visit-kenya-to-study...
 
Description Nanolight Conference, Benasque, ES 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://benasque.org/2018nanolight/
 
Description Open day at the chemistry department during science festival in Cambridge. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Participation in an open day with Primary audience Families with young children
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.ch.cam.ac.uk/outreach/chemistry-open-day
 
Description Outreach activity at the Science Museum London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of our season of events celebrating 150 years of the periodic table, the museum invited chemists from the Vignolini group to display their work showcasing the chemistry of colour. We showed how living things use their internal structure to change their appearance. What we see in the natural world inspires us to find new ways to make colourful, sustainable materials to make new colourants - things like dyes and pigments - that are cheap, durable, non-toxic and biodegradable.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://blog.sciencemuseum.org.uk/can-a-sustainable-future-be-colourful/?fbclid=IwAR2ow8wi_GFTkdv2rr...
 
Description PLASMONICA 2018, Florence, IT 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.plasmonica.it/2018/
 
Description Participation to TV show "Kilimangiaro" o 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I explained in the live TV show "Kilimangiaro" of the National Italian television Rai3 the concept of structural colours in nature to an audience of ~901.000 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.rai.it/dl/UfficioStampa/Articoli/KILIMANGIARO-7c12c3ca-442f-4563-8fc0-944a67ebcc7a.html
 
Description Plasmonics, Cetraro, IT 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.nanoplasmconference.com/
 
Description School of Nanomaterials, Utrecht, NL 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.uu.nl/en/research/debye-institute-for-nanomaterials-science/activities/debye-spring-scho...
 
Description School visit Vaiano ITALY 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 3D printing an microscopy workshop

Pupils were enthusiastic and send me email to ask more materials
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description School visit, Istituto Magistrale Giovanni Da San Giovanni di San Giovanni Valdarno ITALY 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An entire school attended to a workshop on materials and living organism, I was invited to give a talk and give a prize for my activities in promoting the role of women in science.

Student asked question about university in UK, how to access and how it is life in research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description SciFoo O'Reilly Science Camp 2018, Googleplex, Palo Alto, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.digital-science.com/blog/news/we-are-getting-ready-for-scifoo/
 
Description Structural Colour in Algae 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27837-forget-the-whiteblue-dress-is-this-seaweed-blue-or-red
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3150928/Mystery-colour-shifting-seaweed-solved-Irish-moss-changes-hue-plate-like-structures-finding-lead-waterproof-sunblock.html

non aplicable
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Talk at "TEDx University of Luxemburg 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I was contected by sevel comapnies
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://tedxuniversityofluxembourg.com/2018/
 
Description The Geilo Winter School "Physics inspired by living matter", Geilo, NOR 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.ife.no/en/ife/departments/physics/geilo2017/the-geilo-school-2017/
 
Description Twisted, Soft Matter Conference Luxembourg, LX 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.twisted.lcsoftmatter.com/
 
Description WWSC workshop, Stockholm, SWE 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Workshop on "How will biology influence future technologies", IndTECH 2018, Vienna 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.indtech2018.eu/programme/
 
Description Workshop on Correlated disorder and hyperuniformity in soft matter and photonics, Paris, FR 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented results influencing the community, raising awareness in the work carried on in my research group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.espci.fr/sites/www.espci.fr/IMG/pdf/annoucement.pdf
 
Description research and development for a short film 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Worked with a film crew to develop material for a short film
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016