Using a protein found in squid armor, researchers have developed an infrared coating that could significantly improve camouflage for stealth operations.
The team, from the University of California, grew the squid’s structural protein (called reflectin) in a bacteria culture and used it to create an optically active, thin film. When exposed to certain chemical stimuli, the protein’s reflective ability and coloration will shift, causing the film—and the object it covers—to disappear or reappear when viewed with an infrared camera.
Because military forces uses infrared cameras for a variety of missions, the coating could help make forces harder to target at night. The film could also have applications in biologically inspired optics and energy-efficient reflective coatings.
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