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Squid Camouflage Skin Provides Stealth Coating For Soldiers At Night

posted 11 Sept 2013, 10:49 by Mpelembe   [ updated 11 Sept 2013, 10:50 ]

USA (Next Media) -   The US military is developing a revolutionary camouflage material that will make soldiers and military equipment invisible to enemies.

Using a chemical found in squid skin that enables the animal to change color, scientists at the University of California say they have uncovered a way to imitate this colour change technique.

According to a press release, “With the appropriate chemical stimuli, the films’ coloration and reflectance can shift back and forth, giving them a dynamic configurability that allows the films to disappear and reappear when visualized with an infrared camera.

Infrared detection equipment is employed extensively by military forces for night vision, navigation,surveillance and targeting. The novelty of this coating lies in its functionality within the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, roughly 700 to 1,200 nanometers, which matches the standard imaging range of most infrared visualization equipment. This region is not usually accessible to biologically derived reflective materials.

“Our approach is simple and compatible with a wide array of surfaces, potentially allowing many simple objects to acquire camouflage capabilities,” said Gorodetsky, whose work has possible applications in infrared stealth camouflage, energy-efficient reflective coatings and biologically inspired optics.

This is just the first step in developing a material that will self-reconfigure in response to an external signal, he added. The Samueli School researchers are currently formulating alternative, nonchemical strategies for triggering coloration changes in the reflectin coating.

“Our long-term goal is to create fabrics that can dynamically alter their texture and color to adapt to their environments,” Gorodetsky said. “Basically, we’re seeking to make shape-shifting clothing – the stuff of science fiction – a reality.”