Multifunctionality of chiton biomineralized armor with an integrated visual system

TitleMultifunctionality of chiton biomineralized armor with an integrated visual system
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsLi, L, Connors, MJ, Kolle, M, England, GT, Speiser, DI, Xiao, X, Aizenberg, J, Ortiz, C
JournalScience
Volume350
Issue6263
Pagination952 - 956
Date Published2015/11/20/
Abstract

Nature provides a multitude of examples of multifunctional structural materials in which trade-offs are imposed by conflicting functional requirements. One such example is the biomineralized armor of the chiton Acanthopleura granulata, which incorporates an integrated sensory system that includes hundreds of eyes with aragonite-based lenses. We use optical experiments to demonstrate that these microscopic lenses are able to form images. Light scattering by the polycrystalline lenses is minimized by the use of relatively large, crystallographically aligned grains. Multiscale mechanical testing reveals that as the size, complexity, and functionality of the integrated sensory elements increase, the local mechanical performance of the armor decreases. However, A. granulata has evolved several strategies to compensate for its mechanical vulnerabilities to form a multipurpose system with co-optimized optical and structural functions.