Exciting change is on the way! Please join us at nsf.gov for the latest news on NSF-funded research. While the NSF Science360 page and daily newsletter have now been retired, there’s much happening at nsf.gov. You’ll find current research news on the homepage and much more to explore throughout the site. Best of all, we’ve begun to build a brand-new website that will bring together news, social media, multimedia and more in a way that offers visitors a rich, rewarding, user-friendly experience.

Want to continue to receive email updates on the latest NSF research news and multimedia content? On September 23rd we’ll begin sending those updates via GovDelivery. If you’d prefer not to receive them, please unsubscribe now from Science360 News and your email address will not be moved into the new system.

Thanks so much for being part of the NSF Science360 News Service community. We hope you’ll stay with us during this transition so that we can continue to share the many ways NSF-funded research is advancing knowledge that transforms our future.

For additional information, please contact us at NewsTravels@nsf.gov

Top Story

Synthetic material acts like an insect cloaking device

Synthetic microspheres with nanoscale holes can absorb light from all directions across a wide range of frequencies, making them a candidate for anti-reflective coatings. The synthetic spheres also explain how the leaf hopper insect uses similar particles to hide from predators in its environment. Scientists have long been aware that leaf hoppers extrude microparticles, called brochosomes, and wipe them on their wings. Because the particles are superhydrophobic, the leaf hopper's wings stay dry in wet conditions. What was not understood before current research is that the brochosomes also allow leaf hoppers and their eggs to blend in with their backgrounds at the wavelengths of light visible to their main predators, such as the ladybird beetle. In this study, researchers simulated insect vision and found that the brochosomes are very likely camouflage coatings against leaf hopper predators. As an anti-reflective coating, the synthetic material related to this study could have applications in sensors and cameras, where capturing unwanted light reflection could increase the signal-to-noise ratio.

Visit Website | Image credit: Shikuan Yang/Birgitt Boschitsch/Penn State