Oct 7, 2007

Greener Paints, Cosmetics and Holograms

A plant-like micro-organism mostly found in oceans could help in manufacturing of cheaper and 'greener' paints, cosmetics and even holograms. The tiny single-celled 'diatom', which first evolved hundreds of millions of years ago, has a hard silica shell which is iridescent. The shell displays vivid colours that change depending on the angle at which it is observed. This effect is caused by a complex network of tiny holes in the shell which interfere with light waves.

UK scientists have now found an extremely effective way of growing diatoms in controlled laboratory conditions, with potential for scale-up to industrial level. This would enable diatom shells to be mass-produced, harvested and mixed into paints, cosmetics and clothing to create stunning colour-changing effects, or embedded into polymers to produce difficult-to-forge holograms. Link


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