Biomimicry is the science of transferring concepts found in nature to other fields. The terms biomimicry, biomimetics, or biomimic come from the Greek words bios = life and mimesis = imitate. Nature displays many superb and unique ways of solving complex problems, which humans tackle in a more energy consuming, less sustainable way.
One example is the lotus leaf, which exhibits very efficiently how a surface can be self cleaning. When a raindrop falls onto the lotus leaf, it immediately rolls off and carries with it any contaminating particles present on the surface. This so called “lotus effect” is attributed to the dual scale roughness structure of the lotus leaf. Other examples for surfaces with superior characteristics are the surface of the shark skin (hydrodynamic drag reduction), the mosquito eye (anti-fogging), the back of the Namib desert beetle (water harvesting).
These surfaces have attracted a lot of attention not only in the fields of biology and botany but also in engineering with researchers trying to understand and biomimic the surface structures and functionalities. The interest in such functional surfaces originates from the diverse application possibilities. These range from the prevention of condensation and water coalescence, as well as the prevention of contamination and fouling, to the enhancement of lubricity and durability, and to the increase in biocompatibility of such surfaces.
Learning from and imitating nature is key in succeeding to protect our planet and to sustain and advance our modern way of life. The development of novel processing techniques and advanced materials plays a vital role in finding sustainable solutions to environmental and industrial problems. My research strives to contribute to this goal by using novel laser processing techniques to create distinct roughness structures and surfaces with specific functionalities on various materials, such as metals and polymers.