Magnetic Control of the Light Reflection Anisotropy in a Biogenic Guanine Microcrystal Platelet

Masakazu Iwasaka*, Yuri Mizukawa, Nicholas W Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
623 Downloads (Pure)


Bioinspired but static optical devices such as lenses, retarders, and reflectors have had a significant impact on the designs of many man-made optical technologies. However, while numerous adaptive and flexible optical mechanisms are found throughout the animal kingdom, highly desirable biomimetic copies of these remarkable smart systems remain, in many cases, a distant dream. Many aquatic animals have evolved highly efficient reflectors based on multilayer stacks of the crystallized nucleic acid base guanine. With exceptional levels of spectral and intensity control, these reflectors represent an interesting design pathway towards controllable micromirror structures. Here we show that individual guanine crystals, with dimensions of 5 μm × 20 μm × 70 nm, can be magnetically controlled to act as individual micromirrors. By applying magnetic fields of 500 mT, the reflectivity of these crystals can be switched off and on for the change in reflectivity. Overall, the use of guanine represents a novel design scheme for a highly efficient and controllable synthetic organic micromirror array.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-187
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2016


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