Nanoscience Uses Biomimicry

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


Nanoscience Uses Biomimicry. By Jeannie Nye and Andrew Greenberg Lake Mills Middle School And University of Wisconsin-Madison. Copycat!. Nature has Some Amazing Nanoscience Feats …or Should We Say ‘Feets’. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Nanoscience Uses Biomimicry

  • Copycat!By Jeannie Nye and Andrew GreenbergLake Mills Middle SchoolAnd University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Nature has Some Amazing Nanoscience Feats or Should We Say Feets.

    Studying the water striders nanogroovy setules on its toes has inspired scientists to design miniature aquatic devices and non-wetting materials.Water strider leg hairs and grooves on one hair.

  • Eight-Legged Note PadsThe strength of the suction in a spiders foot is due to all of the small van der Waals forces at the nanoscale pulling at the same time.

    So, why isnt it stuck in one place? It lifts its leg so that the setules lift successively, not all at once.

    This suggests to scientists that, in the future, super-strong Post-it notes, modeled after the nanoscience of spider toes, will need to be pulled off very slowly, a little at a time.

    My pads are stuck, too!Help, my pads are stuck!Hairy spider toesSetules on hairs

  • And..Imagine astronauts using the same idea for spacesuits that help them stick to the walls of a spacecraft,just like a spider on the ceiling."

    Using nanoscience and the van der Waals force, future Post-it notes wont just be strong, theyll even stick if they got wet or greasy.

  • Clean as a

    Gecko feet can stick to seemingly smooth surfaces thanks to nanoscale setules on their feet; and the setules are self cleaning. This bonding capability is inspiring scientists to develop a synthetic adhesive that is both dry and self-cleaning.

  • A Material Stronger than Steeland More Elastic than Nylon?

    For 450 million years, spiders have made silk, protein-based nanomaterials that self-assemble into fibers and sheets.

    If we figure out how to copy this nanscience feat, scientists would like to use the material to create an elevator to space.

    Does that sound like a good idea to you?

  • Butterfly wings are layers of nanoparticles seperated by layers of air. The thickness of the layers changes the colors that we see.

    Color in Butterfly WingsButterfly wing scales in increasing magnitude

  • How Do We Mimic Wing Colors? The layered nanostructure of the butterfly wing inspires scientists to develop textiles by assembling nanoparticles into layers from the bottom up.

  • Living LEDs figured out how to emit light 30 million years ago.

    Fluorescent patches on the wings of this African swallowtail butterflies work in a very similar way to high emission light emitting diodes (LEDs).

  • Butterfly Nanostructure InspirationDepending on what you need, these nanoparticles might be made into flourescent proteins, DNA, viruses, or dyes. The ideas are endless!

    If made into optical chemical or stress sensing nanofibers, they can be added into other materials and structures.

  • Wings are Colorful and Hydrophobic! Notice the butterflys wing in the picture isnt getting wet?

    The butterfly can thank its lucky stars or, better yet, its nanoscales. dropletLook, Mom, Im dry!More information can be found on the web at . Activities can be found at or


    Like Water Off of a Ducks Back As the Saying Goes

  • and Dirt Off of a Butterflys Wing!Besides repelling water (hydrophobic), the nanoscales make butterfly wings self-cleaning.

  • Butterfly wing or super-hydrophobic surface= water= dirtHow These Surfaces WorkBecause of the nanostructures on a butterfly wing or other hydrophobic surface, a waterdrop forms into a ball, rolling from the surface and taking the dirt with it.

  • Scientists are copying this process with self cleaning hydrophobic micro-dots.

    Science Copies Self-Cleaning Nanoproperties!Since I cant take a bath, its a good thing Im self-cleaning!An excellent video demonstrates how this works at

  • Wouldnt It Be Nice If?more materials could be

    self-cleaning? water repellant?

    Can you think of some?

  • Nanoscience Uses for Bioluminescence of cancers

    Biological imaging Red is particularly useful because it can transmit through skin better than green light.

    Tracing tumor growth

    Drug screeningMeasuring rate of cell multiplication

    Pathogen detectionFood testing. Bacteria contain ATP that accelerates the fireflys bioluminescence reaction. This makes it especially good for quickly detecting bacterial contamination in food.

  • Squid LightsThose Squid platelets inspire nanotechnologists to include such protein-based reflectors in optical nanodevices. Remember those squid belly nanoplatelets that reflect the light of bioluminescent bacteria?

  • Toucan BeaksThe nanostructure of toucan beaks inspires automotive panels that could protect passengers in crashes.

    And inspires construction of ultralight aircraft components.

  • Thirsty?Thirsty people in Chile and Haiti go to ridgetops to collect fog on large sheets on ridgetops.

    Living in the desert the thirsty Namib beetle collects dew to drink using nanodots on its back.

    So What can Thirsty People Do?But as we learn about nanoscience in nature

  • We have Nanotechnology Solutions!controlled drug release coatings,open-air microchannel devices, andlab-on-chip devices.Scientists are modeling water harvesting surfaces after the Namib beetles nanotechnique.Patterned Superhydrophobic Surfaces: Toward a Synthetic Mimic of the Namib Desert Beetle Lei Zhai, Michael C. Berg, Fevzi . Cebeci, Yushan Kim, John M. Milwid, Michael F. Rubner, and Robert E. Cohen Nano Lett.; 2006; 6(6) pp 1213 - 1217; Namib Beetles design is also a model for other nanotechnology:Youre welcome!

  • `It sounds like promising nanoscience. But, personally, Im having a little trouble getting excited about smearing something called hipposudoric acid on my body! Dont You Want to Mimic My Nanopowers?Ok, hippo sweat is -a sunscreen,-hydrophilic -and antibacterial.

  • Nanoscience Biomimicry Weve looked at ways scientists are attempting to mimic the wonders of nanoscience in nature:sticky feetstrong spider silkwater collecting beetle backsself-cleaning light reflecting butterfly wings optical nanoscienceand the list could go on and on.tough and light toucan beaks

  • Your SuperPower IdeaNow it is your turn to delve into the world of superheros and supervillains. These ideas have been copied and modified by science fiction and cartoonists for decades.Take a nanoscience idea from nature. Create a superbeing or supertool that has a special power based on this nanoscience idea. Develop a visual aid and presentation to share with the class. SuperHippo to the rescue!

  • Superpower or Nanopower Copycats?Spiderman uses the nanoscience of spider silk. Is this the only way that Spidey uses nanoscience? What other superheros could be using some of these nanoscience ideas to achieve their feats?A database of biomimicry may help you find ideas. The following database includes some examples of mimicry that are NOT nanoscale so be careful to select an idea that is based in nanoscience. you dont feel you are ready to start on your project yet and want more clarification or help. Click here for five more slides.

  • Biomimicry WebsitesThis is a great website., Select browse then select either strategies or organisms to best search this site. are good biomimicry website, too: and the latest news on nanotechnology news at and nanotechnology discoveries at This database is more challenging, but has good information:

  • More Challenging ResourceIf youre still looking for information, this Chemistry Teachers Guide is good but challenging.