In this activity, museum visitors will be exposed to the term ‘Photonic Crystals’. They will see and explore some of the well-known photonic crystals in nature and will also be able observe one method that scientists use in trying to replicate this process.
Changing Colors is an interactive exhibit that shows how some high-tech nanomaterials mimic natural phenomena. Super-small, light-reflecting structures—instead of pigments—on the wings of some butterflies create intense, iridescent colors. Nanoscientists have replicated this effect with layered, super-thin films. Watch the colors change on butterfly wings and thin-film slides as you move them beneath a light source, and discover how nanoscale structures can manipulate light and create color. Butterfly specimens deteriorate with heavy use, and may need to be replaced periodically.
In this activity, students learn about structural color while exploring interference paints. Students compare interference acrylic paints to normal acrylic paints. Students also observe how the color of the paint changes when it’s applied to different paper, or viewed from a different angle.
The Nanotechnology Coloring Book and Answers sheet created by NanoSonic are available in English and French/Francais for free download from NanoSonic, an American company that designs and produces nanomaterials. It helps fourth-to-fifth grade students learn about the tiny world of nanoscale with line drawings, brief descriptions of the illustrations, questions and several exercises. The Answers sheet is provided for teachers and parents.
Mr. O talks about iridescence and Blue Morpho butterflies in another "O Wow" moment at the Children's Museum of Houston.
"Exploring Structures - Butterfly" is a hands-on activity in which visitors investigate how some butterfly wings get their color. They learn that some wings get their color from the nanoscale structures on the wings instead of pigments.