Soft, mechanically deformable materials and systems that can, on demand, manipulate light propagation within both the visible and infrared (IR) regions of the electromagnetic spectrum are desirable for applications that include sensing, optoelectronics, robotics, energy conservation, thermal regulation, and camouflage platforms. The development of their adaptive variants, in which the infrared-reflecting properties dynamically change in response to external stimuli, has emerged as an important unmet scientific challenge.
By drawing inspiration from cephalopod skin, we developed adaptive infrared-reflecting platforms that feature a simple actuation mechanism, low working temperature, tunable spectral range, weak angular dependence, fast response, stability to repeated cycling, amenability to patterning and multiplexing, autonomous operation, robust mechanical properties, and straightforward manufacturability. Furthermore, we also developed multispectral camouflage surfaces with dynamically-reconfigurable morphologies and concomitant tunable visible-to-infrared spectroscopic properties in response to either mechanical or electrical actuations. These findings may afford new scientific and technological opportunities not only for adaptive optics and photonics but also for any platform that can benefit from simultaneously controlling visible light and heat.
Xu, C.; Stiubianu, G. T.; Gorodetsky, A. A.; Science, 2018, 359(6383), pp. 1495-1500.Article