Mini Monet made with plasmonic paint


nano_monet

© ACS

There is no paint or ink in this miniature reproduction of Claude Monet’s Impression, sunrise. Instead, the colours come from nano-sized discs of aluminium printed onto a sheet of silicon. The discs produce colour from plasmonic effects – the oscillation of electrons at the metal’s surface that changes the way it interacts with light.

Until now, the range of colours that could be produced in this way was very limited, but Joel Yang and colleagues at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore have created a much wider palette by varying the size and arrangement of the aluminium nanodiscs. Each ‘plasmonic pixel’ in the picture contains four nanodiscs. The team found that by changing the diameter of the discs, the distance between them and their position within the pixel affected the colours they produced. They used different combinations to make a palette of over 300 colours – enough to make an easily recognisable reproduction of a real painting. The group suggest that as well as digital printing, their work could be useful for other applications making use of plasmonics, including security tags and sensors.

Read more about where science meets art in our themed issue

Related Content

The colourful science

19 June 2014 Feature

news image

Philip Ball traces how chemists and artists have been inspiring each other for centuries

The art detectives

27 June 2014 Premium contentFeature

news image

Spectroscopic techniques allow scientists to look over the shoulders of old masters. Emma Stoye reports

Most Read

Higher levels of some metals in e-cigarette smoke

8 September 2014 Research

news image

Scientists call for regulators to help clear smoke and mirrors surrounding vaping safety

Isotope effect produces new type of chemical bond

22 October 2014 Research

news image

Evidence emerges for vibrational bond first proposed 30 years ago

Most Commented

Square planar iron complex breaks inorganic dogma

31 October 2014 Research

news image

Unusual spin state could open the door to new and exciting chemistry

Indian U-turn on diabetes drug ban

16 August 2013 News and Analysis

news image

Suspension of cheap and popular medicine reversed but will now come with new safety warnings