Imagine being able to create vibrant and beautiful butterfly wings like structures in the shape you want and using them as simple visual sensors for detecting vapours in the environment (e.g. your breath or air around you). This is what a combination of biomimicking materials and 3D printing allow. Biomimicking materials and 3D printing are two rapidly growing and popular fields with applications in a range of areas like medicine, diagnostics, energy storage and production, etc. Learn how we can combine these two exciting fields together to create functional devices for medical and environmental monitoring. 

Inspired by the vibrant colours displayed by some of the most beautiful creatures and objects in Nature like butterflies, beetles and opals, materials scientists have, for a long-time, been trying to mimic these into artificial materials. Using innovative materials fabrication techniques, we have developed sponge-like porous materials that mimic the principles of light modulation in nature. 3D printing is an emerging manufacturing technology that is pushing the boundaries beyond the conventional manufacturing methods that are restrictive and wasteful. 3D printing, in last decade has become a household name with benchtop 3D printers becoming extremely affordable enabling rapid development and prototyping. Combining biomimicking materials with advanced 3D printing can open doors for the development of devices and tools that could not even be imagined previously. There are endless possibilities of creating devices that can be personalised or purpose-built

What Students will do

Students will use their creativity to generate new patterns for biomimicking porous photonic crystals to use as colour changing sensors for vapours. Students will then learn to 3D CAD designing and 3D printing to create patterns and utilise their 3D printed patterns to carry out device prototyping and experimental validation of the sensors   

Related Subjects: 

  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Prerequisite Studies:

  • None

Areas of Student Interest:

  • Inventors
  • Materials Science
  • Fundamental Sciences
  • Nanomaterials
  • 3D designing and printing
Tushar Kumeria

Academic Lead: Dr Tushar Kumeria – Senior Lecturer, School of Materials Science and Engineering

Tushar's research focuses on a range of sponge-like porous materials for applications in drug delivery, sensing and tissue engineering. Current projects are = aimed at developing materials for the delivery sensitive drug payloads for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases and sensing of receptor-ligand interaction at cell membrane.


Ayad Saed

Mentor: Ayad Saed, PhD Student

Ayad is working on developing new types of biomimicking porous materials to use in optical sensors. He has a strong background and interest in nanomaterials and sensing. Ayad is using simple electrochemical fabrication and combining his creativity to generate new multi-layered porous photonic crystals that can be used in designing sensors for medical and environmental applications. Besides research, he likes to watch and play football, and cook.