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Proceedings Paper

Electrowetting-controlled bio-inspired artificial iridophores
Author(s): Supone Manakasettharn; J. Ashley Taylor; Tom Krupenkin
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Paper Abstract

Many marine organisms have evolved complex optical mechanisms of dynamic skin color control that allow them to drastically change their visual appearance. In particular, cephalopods have developed especially effective dynamic color control mechanism based on the mechanical actuation of the micro-scale optical structures, which produce either variable degrees of area coverage by a given color (chromatophores) or variations in spatial orientation of the reflective and diffractive surfaces (iridophores). In this work we describe the design, fabrication and characterization of electrowetting-controlled bio-inspired artificial iridophores. The developed iridophores geometrically resemble microflowers with flexible reflective petals. The microflowers are fabricated on a silicon substrate using surface micromachining techniques. After fabrication a small droplet of conductive liquid is deposited at the center of each microflower. This causes the flower petals to partially wrap around the droplet forming a structure similar to capillary origami. The dynamic control over the degree of wrapping is achieved by applying a voltage differential between the conductive core of the petals and the droplet. The applied voltage causes dynamic contact angle change between the droplet and each of the petals due to the electrowetting effect. We have characterized mechanical and optical properties of the microstructures and discuss their electrowetting-based actuation. These experimental results are in good agreement with a 3D theoretical model based on electrocapillarity and elasticity theory. This work forms the basis for a broad range of novel optical devices.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 September 2011
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8097, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VIII, 80970N (9 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.893524
Show Author Affiliations
Supone Manakasettharn, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (United States)
J. Ashley Taylor, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (United States)
Tom Krupenkin, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8097:
Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VIII
Kishan Dholakia; Gabriel C. Spalding, Editor(s)

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