Biomimicry of multifunctional nanostructures in the neck feathers of mallard (Anas platyrhynchos L.) drakes
Biological systems serve as fundamental sources of inspiration for the development of artificially colored devices, and their investigation provides a great number of photonic design opportunities. While several successful biomimetic designs have been detailed in the literature, conventional fabrication techniques nonetheless remain inferior to their natural counterparts in complexity, ease of production and material economy. Here, we investigate the iridescent neck feathers of Anas platyrhynchos drakes, show that they feature an unusual arrangement of two-dimensional (2D) photonic crystals and further exhibit a superhydrophobic surface, and mimic this multifunctional structure using a nanostructure composite fabricated by a recently developed top-down iterative size reduction method, which avoids the above-mentioned fabrication challenges, provides macroscale control and enhances hydrophobicity through the surface structure. Our 2D solid core photonic crystal fibres strongly resemble drake neck plumage in structure and fully polymeric material composition, and can be produced in wide array of colors by minor alterations during the size reduction process.