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Scientists Tackle Paint Fade

Thursday, June 2, 2016

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Paint that will never fade may become a reality if a group of researchers from Australia have any say in the matter.

Scientists at the University of Melbourne say they have developed a new color technology based on a nanostructure called a “plasmonic pixel.”

plasmonic pixel
James © American Chemistry Society

Color mixing test pattern of in-focus and out-of-focus images demonstrating the control capabilities of the plasmonic pixel design algorithm.

The technology is described in detail in a recent issue of the journal Nano Letters.

Lasting Color

“The pixels are made of aluminum nanoantennas, and when the free electrons in the metal collectively vibrate at specific frequencies, they produce a specific color,” explains in a report on the research.

The scientists were able to develop a new plasmonic pixel design that utilizes a straightforward algorithm that can yield nearly 2,000 different colors and shades, the report says. Previous plasmonic pixel designs relied on complex color-mapping algorithms and produced a limited number of colors.

Using the technology, the team created a 1.5-cm-long image to demonstrate that colors could be accurately reproduced.

Range of Applications

The researchers say applications for the plasmonic pixel are varied and include automotive and architectural coatings, as well as billboards.

"With the ability to print at resolutions greater than conventional pigment-based processes, the plasmonic pixels may also have applications in security-based devices for use on high-value product packaging, medicines, etc.," Timothy D. James, one of the authors of the study, told

“The immediate goals are further refining the algorithm to increase the color gamut and saturation, and to investigate the scaled-up fabrication of large-area plasmonic pixel devices with nano-imprint lithography.”


Tagged categories: Coating chemistry; Coatings Technology; Color; Fade-Resistant Color; Nanotechnology; North America; Research

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