New color technology can replace environmentally unfriendly paints and other coatings - also in art

(Nanowerk News) Femtosecond laser surface nanostructuring is called the technique by which colors are made without dyes and pigments.
The color is not a paint or coating, but a part of the material itself.
first artworks ever with angle-independent structural colors
Rubins J. Spaans – first artworks ever with angle-independent structural colors. (Image: Prof. Chunlei Guo)
It is remarkable that these so-called structural colors are viewing angle-independent, that is to say non-iridescent.
That means that the color is the same, regardless of how you rotate the material, and regardless of the angle between the light source and your eyes.
Over the past two years, research scientist Professor Chunlei Guo, the inventor of the technology, and the Dutch artist Rubins J. Spaans have done research on optimizing the technique.
Prof. Chunlei Guo, Rubins J. Spaans and Erik Garcell
Prof. Chunlei Guo, Rubins J. Spaans and Erik Garcell in the lab in Rochester, NY. (Image: Prof. Chunlei Guo)
Their goal was to create the purest colors ever including the blackest black and bluest blue, and apply the technique to larger surfaces.
The results are now presented with the first two artworks ever made with viewing angle-independent structural colors.
"This technique makes it possible to produce pure, saturated colors with a specific, narrow wavelength range, which is impossible with pigments and dyes.
In theory, all colors are possible. A new step in painting," said Rubins.
In Prof. Guo’s laboratory at the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester (NY), blasts of laser light lasting a few millionth billionths of a second can turn the surface of the treated material any color.
The ultra-short pulses cause atoms on the surface of the treated material to melt and vaporize, which then reassemble in nanostructures.
Varying the length, strength and number of pulses, it is possible to control the configuration of the nanostructures, and hence control the reflected spectrum of light, the color.
femtosecond laser setup
Part of the femtosecond laser setup in lab Prof. Chunlei Guo. (Image: Rubins J. Spaans)
Structural colors do not fade and are durable. The femtosecond laser technique is completely safe, non-toxic and fairly easy to apply.
The technique has been developed to such an extent that it can be applied outside the laboratory environment.
Short-term industrial application is feasible according to Prof. Guo and Rubins. They envision that cars with viewing angle-independent structural colors appear in the streets in the near future.
Source: Rubins J. Spaans
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