Textile materials inspired by structural colour in nature

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The concept of mimicking structural colour in nature as an alternative to traditional textile coloration techniques would reduce dependency on dyes, pigments and vast quantities of water in the textile supply chain. Structural colours originate from the physical interaction of light with nanoscale structures. This is exhibited in the bodies and wings of certain species of butterfly, beetles and plants. The angular optical effects of the Chrysina Gloriosa beetle result from the periodicity due to the cholesteric liquid crystal (CLC) structure adopted by the cells in their exoskeleton. The optical properties of CLCs makes promising applications for optical sensors and anti-counterfeit materials. Application using inkjet printing technology enables designs to be tuned to meet product requirements, and with a hydrophobic treatment challenges associated with a rough surface such as textiles are overcome. Here we report inkjet printing CLCs solutions onto hydrophobic pre-treated textiles. CIE L*a*b* values demonstrate the resultant colourful films display a greater degree of colour compared to those on untreated textiles.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalRSC Advances
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2020