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Biological and bio-inspired optics Faraday Discussion - Living Light edition

20 - 22 July 2020, United Kingdom



Join us online in July 2020 for this virtual addition to our Faraday Discussion series. For over 100 years and 300 meetings, Faraday Discussions have been the forefront of physical chemistry. Many of these Discussions have become landmark meetings in their field. We are pleased to be working with the Living Light organisers for this edition in the series.

We invite you to join us to discuss the topic of Biological and bio-inspired optics and make your contribution to this cutting-edge dialogue alongside leaders in this field. This meeting is for established and early-career scientists, post-graduate students and industrial researchers interested in nature’s light manipulation strategies.

Silvia Vignolini

Format of the Discussion

Faraday Discussions remain amongst the only conferences to distribute the speakers’ research papers in advance, allowing the majority of each meeting to be devoted to discussion in which all delegates can participate.  Following each meeting a written record of the discussion is published alongside the papers in the Faraday Discussions journal.
Find out more about the Faraday Discussions in this video:

Scientific Themes

This Faraday Discussion will focus on the most recent developments in this exciting and rapidly evolving field. We will assess what we currently know about nature’s most intriguing light management techniques and review strategies for deriving advantages from this knowledge in bio-inspired materials. As this topic is very interdisciplinary, with connections spanning from biology and materials science to chemistry and physics, the unique format of the Faraday Discussion will provide a great platform for exchange between the different disciplines and facilitate novel collaborations.
The Faraday Discussion will be organised into the following themes: 

Optics and photonics in nature

Over the last decade as a community we have learned a lot about the fundamental principles underlying light-matter interactions in biological optical materials. However, many questions remain pertaining to the materials’ development, function, and compromises made by organisms to enable multiple functions. In this session, we want to explore these open questions and outline strategies to answer them. 

Bio-inspired optics

In this session, we aim to provide an overview of the recent progress in bio-inspired materials design with a critical discussion of representative examples of optical and photonic components that have been inspired by living organisms. In addition, we will stimulate a critical and constructive discussion about the true meaning of the term “bio-inspiration” that is often misused in the literature.

The role of structure: order vs disorder in bio-photonic systems

In this session, we will stimulate a discussion on concepts of controlling order and disorder in biological and bio-inspired photonic materials, on the importance of structural tolerances in achieving specific optical effects, and on advantages that can be gained from exploiting disorder and randomness in photonic structures for advanced materials design. 

The role of composition: natural materials vs synthetic composites

In this session, we will review recent progress in optical design using natural materials and discuss their properties and functions and the challenges that we need to address to make such materials a common staple in the optical engineer’s toolbox.

Poster winners

Order and disorder in bio-inspired structural colors obtained from micro-buckling: a computational study  - Amina Matt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Vase-Like β-Polymorph Guanine Crystal Aggregates Formed at the Air-Water Interface - Nina Kølln Wittig, Aarhus University

Abstract Submission

Oral Abstracts

A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. The deadline for oral abstracts and paper submission have now passed.
Papers accepted for the Discussion must be full research papers with a significant amount of new, unpublished work and they are reviewed upon submission. Papers will be made available to all delegates at least  two weeks before the online meeting so they can be read in advance. At the meeting the presenting author is allowed five minutes to highlight the main points of their paper, and the rest of the time is for discussion. The discussion is recorded and will be published alongside the research paper in the Faraday Discussion Volume.

Poster Abstracts

The deadline for poster abstracts has now passed. The Faraday Division Poster Prize will be awarded to the best poster presented by a student at the conference.

Registration for this event is now closed.

Please read the registration information below before registering.  You can register by clicking on the online registration link on this page. 
Registration includes:
  • Access to the virtual conference
  • Attendance at all the discussion sessions
  • Attendance at the poster session(s)
  • Attendance at the networking sessions
  • Access to the discussion pre-prints, available in PDF format to download 
Registration fees are as follows (inclusive of VAT):
Non-member £30
Member £25
Student non-member £15
Student member £10

The registration fees represent approximately a 95% discount on fees for the equivalent physical conference, and have been set as an introductory rate for our first virtual Faraday Discussions in 2020.

Faraday Discussion publication

A copy of the final theme issue of Faraday Discussion volume containing papers presented at the Discussion (issued approximately 5 months after the meeting) is not included in the registration fee. A copy of the volume may be purchased at less than half price, this discounted price is only available to Discussion delegates when ordering during the registration process.

RSC membership rates

If you are a RSC member and wish to register for this meeting, please select the member option on the online registration page. You will need to enter your membership number.

For non-member registrants attending this event, affiliate membership of the RSC is available until the end of 2021, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event.

Student rates

In order to encourage undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the Discussion, a reduced conference fee is available. This fee applies to those undertaking a full time course for a recognised degree or a diploma at a university or equivalent institution.

Partner organisations

As our partner organisations for this Faraday Discussion, IOP and IEEE members may register for the meeting at the RSC member rate and should obtain a discount code from their respective organisation. A limited number of free registrations are available to Living Light delegates on a first come first served basis; the discount code has been emailed to eligible delegates from the Living Light organisers

Terms and Conditions for Events run by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Sponsorship & supporting organisations
A selection of sponsorship opportunities is available for companies who would like to promote their activities at Biological and bio-inspired optics Faraday Discussion 

If you would like more information about sponsoring Biological and bio-inspired optics Faraday Discussion , please contact the Commercial Sales Department at the Royal Society of Chemistry ( 

United Kingdom

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Organised by the Faraday Division in association with the Materials Chemistry Division
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