Diverse biological microstructure designs generate optical functionality in the living world. Together with pigmentation they manipulate the flow of light and colour, thereby creating a vast breadth of evolved animal appearances. The study of these natural systems informs photonics physics in an extraordinary manner and will be this lecture’s theme.
Photonics is the study of the manipulation of the flow of light through its interaction with periodic nanostructure. It forms the basis of significant research effort in physics for technologies such as digital communication, defence, and cosmetics. It is now recognised that the natural world makes use of photonics’ principles; e.g. in cuticle of lepidopteran wings and the barbs of avian feathers. Through novel research methodologies and an optical physics perspective, work in Pete Vukusic’s lab has succeeded in broadening the understanding of the way in which nature controls the flow of its colour. This work comprises two principle categories. The first seeks to understand the varied mechanisms by which photonic effects are generated in living systems. The second is then to apply such understanding, in the form of design protocols, to a range of technological functions; thereby making use both of nature’s ingenuity and its millions of years of photonics R&D.
Tea/Coffee 6pm, Lecture 6.30pm, Snacks 7.45pm