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

Quintuple bond activates small stable molecules

19 September 2014 Research

news image

Exotic complexes suggest route to synthetic feedstock

Computer simulations point to formamide as prebiotic intermediate in ‘Miller’ mixtures

16 September 2014 News and Analysis

news image

Electric field may have provided more than just energy for primordial chemistry

Most Commented

US genomics lead being lost to China

17 September 2014 News and Analysis

news image

NIH senior leaders are sounding the alarm bells, saying the US's pre-eminence in genomics research is under threat

The trouble with boycotts

29 August 2014 Critical Point

news image

Cutting academic ties with a censured state can do more harm than good, says Mark Peplow