Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SeSaMe Report Summary

Project ID: 639088
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SeSaMe (Sustainable routes for Smart photonic Materials)

Reporting period: 2015-10-01 to 2017-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The aim of the project is to fabricate and optically characterize bio-mimetic photonic structures using the same material as nature. This approach allows to answer fundamental questions about the biological significance of photonic structures in nature and their formation, but also provides a sustainable and renewable route for optical device fabrication.

Hierarchical natural architectures producing bright colorations have been studied extensively in the lasts decades mainly because of their fascinating optical response and their biological relevance. However, the mechanisms regulating the interaction of materials underpinning the formation of such structures are still not known. Within this project we try to problem and to understand the development and fabrication of such structures in nature by studying their chemical composition and the physical interactions between the materials which compose them. In parallel, harnessing this knowledge, we exploit the same natural materials (such as cellulose as chitin) to fabricate bio-inspired and bio-mimetic structures for application as pigments, sensors and devices in everyday life.

This research is extremely relevant for important for society. We desperately need more sustainable products, which are not harmful for the environment and for our society. Nature designed and optimised these materials for specific functions, if we learn these functions and the process to fabricate them, we can exploit this natural resources for a truly sustainable technology. Finding new ways to exploit natural resources (like cellulose and chitin) to produce functional materials is fundamental for the materials manufacturing of the future. Natural biopolymers are abundant in our planet and they can be extracted form waist.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In this period, we worked towards the understanding of the formation of photonic structures in nature. We studied the development of the exoskeleton of structurally colored fruits and insects (DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-01496-8).
In parallel, we learned how to control the self-assembly of cellulose in confined geometry to make novel generation pigments(DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b03355), and developed novel strategies to improve the performances of cellulose-based photonic films improving the mechanical properties of these materials (DOI: 10.1002/adma.201603386) and add additional functionalities (DOI: 10.1002/adom.201600451; DOI:10.1021/acsami.6b10611) in film geometry.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

We manage to fabricate cellulose-only coloured particles which can be used a bio-compatible and edible pigments. The work has been patented (see Patents IPR section) and we are in contact with companies to use these materials in future products. I used the Common Exploitation Booster to develop a strategy which allows me to broaden the impact of our findings.
The possibility to scale up production of these materials is disruptive, as they have the potential to replace toxic colorants and additives with natural based components.

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