Nature is always defined as green or blue. When you look around yourself the brightest and the most pronouncing colours that appear in nature are almost always blue or green. Ever wondered why is that so? Well, the scientists have cut the crab for us!
A research paper by PNAS said,” Scattering from 2D correlated disordered structures is often at the core of matte colour appearances in nature. However, the hues related to this mechanism are restricted to UV radiation and the blue part of the visible spectrum.”
Blues all around?
A plethora of research concerning the visible spectrum of light, demonstrate that there are two main methods in which substances in the universe display colour. The colours are either displayed through pigment substances or structural colour. Wherein the pigment substances provide selective colour absorption while structural colours display colour by implementing microscopic structures by controlling light reflection. Check out why this science is applied to social media as well. Why Wrong Colours Mean Losers on Social Media
What does the research illustrate?
Scientists have come up with a computer model that illustrates this study. The device provides evidence that the brightest matte structural colours in nature happen to be blue. No wonder the water bodies, many birds, and most of nature show up the same. This study not only gives an understanding of the natural colour presence but proves to be a valuable resource in the production of vibrant and bright natural colour paints.
Does it encounter any limitations?
Well, we are precisely talking about recreating the structural colours that display colours by microscopic structures. So, the nanoscale framework on the surface of the substances is what dictates the actual colour itself. The ordered crystalline structures over the layers of substances reflect varied colours at different angles and under different lights. And that’s the reason why we see shades of colours established on any blue or green variant of substance present in nature.
As against this, the matte colours obtained from other structures don’t change when disordered; this tendency of variation is specifically observed in nature in producing blue and green hues. The blue colour that pops up when we think about nature is typically the water bodies or the blue on a peacock or kingfisher. The pigments on the surfaces of all the above said produce variations when exposed to sunlight or any other distinct light.
The inherent limitation of said structures is what has prompted this recent study.
What does the computer model illustrate?
The current computer model in the study is developed based on artificial materials called photonic glasses. It shows that the colour that is completely out of the scope of scattering techniques behind matte structural colours is red. In addition to red, orange, and yellow are the two other colours that prostrate a complex interplay between the contributions of single scattering, multiple scattering, and correlated scattering. Chemist Silvia Vignolini, from the University of Cambridge, explained that all three stated colours exhibit a long-wavelength region of the visible spectrum and can’t be easily reflected using the techniques of the microscopic surface structures.
The research team added that owing to the limits of the underlying structures, the evolution in nature has led to different ways of producing red colours. And that should govern why the bright matte reds are produced using pigment substances in nature, unlike the structural colour that displays the blues and greens in nature.
How does the research benefits humankind?
Further studies and research on the production of these matte structural colours will take us a step closer to creating natural paints and colours. As toxic dyes and pigments won’t be used in their production, these paints would be eco-friendly and won’t release any harmful chemicals. This will also aid in developing paints that will resist fading over time.
While the material scientists are trying to artificially recreate the matte structural colours, like mother nature, the scientists too are encountering difficulties in recreating the same for reds and oranges. In a research published in PNAS, Lukas Schertel, a chemist from the University of Cambridge stated that when the team tried to artificially recreate the matte structural colours of reds and oranges, they ended up with poor-quality result both in terms of saturation and colour purity.
We have to anyhow wait for the scientist to discover the ways to fight the limitations in recreating these artificial colours that will be long-lasting and environment-friendly, before jumping onto developing any commercial applications.