Fish-scale bio-inspired multifunctional ZnO nanostructures

Ziqi Sun, Ting Liao, Wenxian Li, Yuhai Dou, Kesong Liu, Lei Jiang, Sang Woo Kim, Jung Ho Kim, Shi Xue Dou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scales provide optical disguise, low water drag and mechanical protection to fish, enabling them to survive catastrophic environmental disasters, predators and microorganisms. The unique structures and stacking sequences of fish scales inspired the fabrication of artificial nanostructures with salient optical, interfacial and mechanical properties. Herein, we describe fish-scale bio-inspired multifunctional ZnO nanostructures that have similar morphology and structure to the cycloid scales of the Asian Arowana. These nanostructured coatings feature tunable light refraction and reflection, modulated surface wettability and damage-tolerant mechanical properties. The salient properties of these multifunctional nanostructures are promising for applications in (i) optical coatings, sensing or lens arrays for use in reflective displays, packing, advertising and solar energy harvesting; (ii) self-cleaning surfaces, including anti-smudge, anti-fouling and anti-fogging, and self-sterilizing surfaces; and (iii) mechanical/chemical barrier coatings. This study provides a low-cost and large-scale production method for the facile fabrication of these bio-inspired nanostructures and provides new insights for the development of novel functional materials for use in 'smart' structures and applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number232
JournalNPG Asia Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 18

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partly supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP1096546), a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE150100280), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21273016 and 21001013), the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB933003), the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in Universities, Beijing Natural Science Foundation (2122035). T.L. was also supported by a UOW Vice-Chancellor’s (VC) Research Fellowship. W.X.L. acknowledges research support by the Program for Professor of Special Appointment (Eastern Scholar) at Shanghai Institutions of Higher Learning.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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