Adaptive infrared-reflecting systems inspired by cephalopods

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Abstract

Materials and systems that statically reflect radiation in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum underpin the performance of many entrenched technologies, including building insulation, energy-conserving windows, spacecraft components, electronics shielding, container packaging, protective clothing, and camouflage platforms. The development of their adaptive variants, in which the infrared-reflecting properties dynamically change in response to external stimuli, has emerged as an important unmet scientific challenge. By drawing inspiration from cephalopod skin, we developed adaptive infrared-reflecting platforms that feature a simple actuation mechanism, low working temperature, tunable spectral range, weak angular dependence, fast response, stability to repeated cycling, amenability to patterning and multiplexing, autonomous operation, robust mechanical properties, and straightforward manufacturability. Our findings may open opportunities for infrared camouflage and other technologies that regulate infrared radiation.

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