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Imprinting of natural surfaces

Nature as a source of inspiration

Living nature has become an inspiration for modern innovations and keeps providing solutions to the technical challenges. Recently, many nanomaterials, nanodevices, functional surfaces, etc. were developed and enhanced by mimicking biology and nature. Particularly, insects and plants are the two widely studied organisms due to their superhydrophobic and self-cleaning properties. For instance, rice and butterfly wing effect is a consequence of combining unique surface characteristics also found on shark skin (antifouling) and lotus leaf (self-cleaning). At cBITE, we continue to explore the fascinating possibilities by replicating surfaces found in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador and conducting physicochemical testing on them to elucidate the properties of these micro- and nanostructures.

Imprinting of Natural Surfaces 1

Photographs and SEM images of the surfaces of insect wings. Inset images in electron micrographs depict water droplets on the surfaces of the wings, annotated with their respective WCA. (A) Isoptera Schedorhinotermes sp.; (B) Hymenoptera Vespa sp.; (C) Hemiptera Meimuna microdon; (D) Orthoptera Acrida cinerea cinerea; (E) Odonata Hemicordulia tau, and (F) Lepidoptera Papilio xuthus. (Watson et al, 2011)

Imprinting of Natural Surfaces 2

Polystyrene replica of snake skin scales.

Further reading

Koch et al., Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci, 2009
Watson et al., PLoS One, 2011


  • cBITE-laboratory for Cell Biology-Inspired Tissue Engineering
  • MERLN Institute
Maastricht University
Universiteitssingel 40
6229 ER Maastricht
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