Opaque, Translucent and Transparent Flower PetalsPart of:
Flowers manipulate the incoming light in such a way that the reflected light (in the range of photon wavelengths that can be detected) appeals to pollinators. The skeleton flower (Diphylleia grayi), is a native flower to higher altitudes in Hokkaido. It has unimpressive six small white petals, that show a very unusual change in appearance: they turn translucent when wet. Here we report on the mechanism by observing the cross section and surface morphology of the petals in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) in both the dry and wet stages by the nanosuit method.
By using a coating-on-water technique, we produced air-pocket containing thin films of a poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) copolymer that also show a rapid change from turbid to transparent when immersed in water. Thus this peculiar phenomenon of flower petals can be mimicked artificially and may give rise to applications in which a reliable and reversible change of transparency is required, such as shading, or collecting sunlight depending on the environmental conditions.