Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mantis Shrimp Eyes Could Show Way To Better DVD And CD players

Date:
October 26, 2009
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
The remarkable eyes of a marine crustacean could inspire the next generation of DVD and CD players, according to a new study.

A mantis shrimp takes a peep from it's burrow in the Sulu sea.
Credit: iStockphoto/Richard Ng

The remarkable eyes of a marine crustacean could inspire the next generation of DVD and CD players, according to a new study from the University of Bristol published today in Nature Photonics.

Related Articles


The mantis shrimps in the study are found on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and have the most complex vision systems known to science. They can see in twelve colours (humans see in only three) and can distinguish between different forms of polarized light.

Special light-sensitive cells in mantis shrimp eyes act as quarter-wave plates -- which can rotate the plane of the oscillations (the polarization) of a light wave as it travels through it. This capability makes it possible for mantis shrimps to convert linearly polarized light to circularly polarized light and vice versa. Manmade quarter-wave plates perform this essential function in CD and DVD players and in circular polarizing filters for cameras.

However, these artificial devices only tend to work well for one colour of light while the natural mechanism in the mantis shrimp's eyes works almost perfectly across the whole visible spectrum -- from near-ultra violet to infra-red.

Dr Nicholas Roberts, lead author of the Nature Photonics paper said: "Our work reveals for the first time the unique design and mechanism of the quarter-wave plate in the mantis shrimp's eye. It really is exceptional -- out-performing anything we humans have so far been able to create."

Exactly why the mantis shrimp needs such exquisite sensitivity to circularly polarized light isn't clear. However, polarization vision is used by animals for sexual signalling or secret communication that avoids the attention of other animals, especially predators. It could also assist in the finding and catching of prey by improving the clarity of images underwater. If this mechanism in the mantis shrimp provides an evolutionary advantage, it would be easily selected for as it only requires small changes to existing properties of the cell in the eye.

"What's particularly exciting is how beautifully simple it is," Dr Roberts continued. "This natural mechanism, comprised of cell membranes rolled into tubes, completely outperforms synthetic designs.

"It could help us make better optical devices in the future using liquid crystals that have been chemically engineered to mimic the properties of the cells in the mantis shrimp's eye."

This wouldn't be the first time humans have looked to the natural world for new ideas, for example the lobster's compound eye recently inspired the design of an X-ray detector for an astronomical telescope.

The mantis shrimp research was conducted at the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences in collaboration with colleagues at UMBC, USA and the University of Queensland, Australia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. NW Roberts, T-H Chiou, NJ Marshall and TW Cronin. A biological quarter-wave retarder with excellent achromaticity in the visible wavelength region. Nature Photonics, 2009; DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2009.189

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Mantis Shrimp Eyes Could Show Way To Better DVD And CD players." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091025162459.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2009, October 26). Mantis Shrimp Eyes Could Show Way To Better DVD And CD players. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091025162459.htm
University of Bristol. "Mantis Shrimp Eyes Could Show Way To Better DVD And CD players." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091025162459.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins