Putative functions and functional efficiency of ordered cuticular nanoarrays on insect wings

Watson, Gregory S., Myhra, Sverre, Cribb, Bronwen W., and Watson, Jolanta A. (2008) Putative functions and functional efficiency of ordered cuticular nanoarrays on insect wings. Biophysical Journal, 94 (8). pp. 3352-3360.

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The putative functions and functional efficiencies of periodic nanostructures on the surface of cicada wings have been investigated by atomic force microscopy (AFM) used as a tool for imaging, manipulation, and probing of adhesion. The structures consist of hexagonal close-packed protrusions with a lateral spacing of ~200 nm and may have multiple functionalities. Not only do the structures confer survival value by virtue of camouflage, but they may also serve as antiwetting and self-cleaning surfaces and thus be resistant to contamination. These effects have been demonstrated by exposure to white light, liquid droplets, and AFM adhesion measurements. The dependence of optical reflectivity and surface adhesion on surface topography has been demonstrated using AFM as a nanomachining tool as well as an imaging and force-sensing probe. The intact arrays display exceptionally low adhesion for particles in the size range 20 nm–40 μm. The particles can be removed from the array by forces in the range 2–20 nN; conversely, forces in the range 25–230 nN are required to remove identical particles from a flat hydrophilic surface (i.e., polished Si). Measurements of contact angles for several liquids and particle adhesion studies show that the wing represents a low-surface-energy membrane with antiwetting properties. The inference is that a combination of chemistry and structure constitutes a natural technology for conferring resistance to contamination.

Item ID: 18204
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1542-0086
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2011 23:00
FoR Codes: 02 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 0299 Other Physical Sciences > 029999 Physical Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 30%
03 CHEMICAL SCIENCES > 0399 Other Chemical Sciences > 039999 Chemical Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 40%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences @ 30%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970103 Expanding Knowledge in the Chemical Sciences @ 30%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 40%
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