Researchers imitate structural coloration of bird feathers to develop reflective display

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : January 26, 2021, 15:58 | Updated : January 26, 2021, 15:58

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SEOUL -- South Korea's state research body has developed reflective display technology that imitates the structural coloration of bird feathers. Unlike conventional displays that use color filters or backlights, reflective displays reproduce colors by reflecting natural light. They can be used for developing low-power and high-color displays.

The National Institute of Ecology (NIE) has teamed up with a Yonsei University research team to utilize biomimetics for the development of a new reflective display without a backlight, which is widely used for displays and consumes a lot of electricity. Backlight lacks visibility in bright places, but reflective displays use natural light and consume less power.

Birds have two basic sources of color. Pigments are chemical compounds located in the feathers or skin and absorb some wavelengths of light. Structural coloration is the production of color by microscopically structured surfaces fine enough to interfere with visible light, sometimes in combination with pigments. It has potential for industrial, commercial and military application.

The structural color of bird feathers was caused by the selective reflection of light following the arrangement of beta-keratin and melanin nanoparticles. The research team has produced optical elements that mimic bird feather color structure, the Environment Ministry said in a statement on January 26.

"The utilization value of eco-friendly technologies such as biomimicry is endless," NIE head Park Yong-mok was quoted as saying.
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