Pigments and pigments encapsulated within nanoparticles have recently been identified to have unique absorptive and scattering profiles in the visible range. It has properties in the infrared (IR) regions. Polymeric fibers are a central component of many technologies that require or are acquiring advanced optical functionality that could benefit from natural, environmentally-friendly optical materials.
Technology Overview
Northeastern researchers chose fibers as a platform material to test this method. Fibers are fabricated by co-extruding the chromatophore pigment granules with linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) using melt spinning and collected the resultant fibers on a rotating spool. LLDPE was an ideal polymer-carrier material due to its thermal stability, chemical inertness, flexibility, and optical transparency. When incorporated with the LLDPE polymer during spinning, the resultant hybrid fibers were colored with an average diameter of 261 ± 15 µm. 
The colored fibers were strong absorbers in the visible region (providing a metallic color) but also were able to reflect color due to forward and backward scattering. Given its high scattering in the NIR and SWIR regions, these materials can be used in place of traditional IR-reflective colorants for future wearable applications. 
Pigments encapsulated as nanoparticles can provide nano-enabled visible light scattering which can improve: 
- solar cell absorption
- chemical sensors via the surface-enhanced Raman scattering mechanism
- Infrared scattering 
- IR coolants for coatings (paints, films, textiles)
- Licensing
- Research collaboration
- Partnering
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
Leila Deravi
Richard Osgood
Amrita Kumar