Biomimetic polymer surfaces by high resolution molding of the wings of different cicadas

Graham Reid, James C. McCormack, Olivier Habimana, Fabian Bayer, Catherine Goromonzi, Eoin Casey, Aidan Cowley, Susan M. Kelleher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Recent studies have shown that insect wings have evolved to have micro- and nanoscale structures on the wing surface, and biomimetic research aims to transfer such structures to applicationspecific materials. Herein, we describe a simple and cost-effective method of replica molding the wing topographies of four cicada species using UV-curable polymers. Different polymer blends of polyethylene glycol diacrylate and polypropylene glycol diacrylate were used as molding materials and a molding chamber was designed to precisely control the x, y, and z dimensions. Analysis by scanning electron microscopy showed that structures ranged from 148 to 854 nm in diameter, with a height range of 191-2368 nm, and wing patterns were transferred with high fidelity to the crosslinked polymer. Finally, bacterial cell studies show that the wing replicas possess the same antibacterial effect as the cicada wing from which they were molded. Overall, this work shows a quick and simple method for patterning UV-curable polymers without the use of expensive equipment, making it a highly accessible means of producing microstructured materials with biological properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1910
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomimetic
  • Cicada wings
  • Microstructured surfaces
  • Replica molding


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