06/17/21: PNAS collaboration paper comes out.

Microstructural design for mechanical–optical multifunctionality in the exoskeleton of the flower beetle Torynorrhina flammea

In the design of multifunctional materials, harnessing structural and compositional synergies while avoiding unnecessary trade-offs is critical in achieving high performance of all required functions. Biological material systems like the cuticles of many arthropods often fulfill multifunctionality through the intricate design of material structures, simultaneously achieving mechanical, optical, sensory, and other vital functionalities. A better understanding of the structural basis for multifunctionality and the functional synergies and trade-offs in biological materials could thus provide important insights for the design of bioinspired multifunctional materials. In this study, we demonstrate a concerted experimental, theoretical, and computational approach that uncovers the structure–mechanics–optics relationship of the beetle’s cuticle, opening avenues to investigate biological materials and design photonic materials with robust mechanical performance.

PNAS June 22, 2021 118 (25) e2101017118; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2101017118