3D-Printed Structures As Dazzling As A Butterfly’s Wing

3D-printing gyroid structures, inspired by the wing structure of a green hairstreak butterfly, could help make more compact light-based electronics.

AsianScientist (Jun. 15, 2016) – Inspired by the intricate structure of a butterfly wing, researchers in Australia have developed a technique that could be used to make more brilliant computer screens. They published their work in Science Advances.

The researchers, from Swinburne University of Technology, used a special printing technique to create tiny structures similar to those found in the wings of the Callophrys rubi butterfly, also known as the green hairstreak.

In some iridescent butterfly wings such as those of the green hairstreak butterfly, the wing is made up of a pattern of intertwining and curved surfaces, known as a gyroid structure. This gyroid structure has amazing properties when it comes to its interactions with light.

The researchers used two beams of light to print at super-resolution, creating 3D gyroid structures that are mechanically strong. Thanks to their smaller size, these new gyroid structures could help make more compact, light-based electronics as larger numbers of devices can be integrated onto a single chip.

According to lead author Dr. Gan Zongsong from the University’s Center for Micro-Photonics, materials made from these artificial gyroids should respond to light at ultrafast speeds, making them ideal for high-speed switches.

Comparison of a natural gyroid structure with the artificial structure. Credit: Swinburne University
Comparison of a natural gyroid structure with the artificial structure. Credit: Swinburne University

Gan said that the technique has two significant advantages, namely improved resolution and better mechanical strength.

“For three-dimensional devices, smaller and more compact also means there is a higher risk of structure collapse because of weaker mechanical strength. Our fabrication technique allows us to make stronger architectures to overcome this problem,” he said.

The article can be found at: Gan et al. (2016) Biomimetic Gyroid Nanostructures Exceeding Their Natural Origins.


Source: Swinburne University of Technology; Photo: xulescu_g/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

Related Stories from Asian Scientist