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The project aims to increase the potential of natural light phenomena in microscopic structrures of organisms and convert them into efficient, functional light objects. Exploring natural light phenomena like reflection, absorption, transportation, interference, scattering and refraction and mimic them to improve the industry and optimize lighting design.

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Own project with support from Stimuleringsfonds

Type of work
Research, biomimicry

What can nature and its smallest life-forms teach us? These small life-forms are the starting point of Lilian van Daal’s research.


How can we create the greatest possible light output with a minimal light source by imitating natural principles? Or how can we create structural coloring instead of using polluting pigments by using natural principles?

These kind of questions are part of the research and explored in it's broadest sense. The project is a symbioses of design, physics, biology and technology. 


The research project 'Microscopic Imitations - Infinitive Reflections' into the materialisation of natural light phenomena has led to three directions of development, which all highlight a different layer of light and colour.

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Structural colour

Together with microbiology company Hoekmine, research has been started into the use and application of bacteria that cause structural colour. By making these applicable to three-dimensional structures in combination with light, an enormous diversity of colour shades is created. This may make chemical pigments redundant in the future. This research is still in progress.

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An investigation into the positioning of reflective fish scales, leading to precisely controlled reflections. The software and technology of Physionary and Luximprint respectively allow me to mimic this principle. 

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"If nothing on earth absorbed light, the planet would be lifeless and cold."

By combining these new technologies, we are able to direct incoming light to a point in an extremely controlled and efficient manner, allowing a controlled image to be projected and optically increasing the output. This results in an extremely efficient light object.

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Polarization microscopy was studied here. This is a method that is used to observe nanostructures in nature. With this principle, the light beam is interrupted or manipulated by an intervening object. This principle makes a whole new spectrum of light visible that is normally only visible with a polarising microscope. I find the beauty generated by this method fascinating. I want to share with the general public what is normally reserved for researchers. The challenge was to create a 3D reality from a 2D observation.

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