Inspired by butterfly wings, this paint isn’t made from pigment. Instead, color is created structurally through the arrangement of nanoparticles. The team is calling it ‘plasmonic paint’.

Based on their calculations, it would only take 1.4 kilograms (3 pounds) of plasmonic paint to cover a Boeing 747 – you’d need at least 454 kilograms (1,000 pounds) of conventional commercial paint to do the same.

Presentation image

That means it could significantly reduce the number of greenhouse gases required for flight. To be clear, this paint has only been created in the lab, so the paint has a long way away from producing it en masse.

But the researchers have already made the paint in various colors using techniques that can easily be scaled up, and that’s what they’ll be working on next.

One big motivator for taking this paint to market is that it can also help to keep structures cooler: Plasmonic paint’s structure reflects the entire infrared spectrum, so less heat is absorbed.

Currently, pigment-based paints require specific molecules to build color, and usually, in modern paints, those pigments are artificially synthesized.

There’s also ultra-white paint, which reflects 98.1 percent of all light and promises to significantly reduce air conditioning needs. But unlike plasmonic paint, ultra-white paint relies on pigments to reflect light.

Still, there’s a long way to go before we’re all customizing our own plasmonic paint colors and using just one tiny can to paint an entire house.

According to sciencealert