Precision replication of hierarchical biological structures by metal oxides using a sonochemical method
A novel method for duplicating the hierarchical structures of biological substances at nanometer resolution in manganese oxides has been developed. This innovation uses natural biomorphic specimens, such as butterfly wing, cotton, and wood as templates. The biotemplates were first treated with either HCl/NaOH or HCl/H2O2/NaOH and then mixed with an aqueous solution of KMnO4. The treated biological materials were then ultrasonically irradiated, and finally, the biological templates were removed by calcination in air at temperatures between 500 and 800 °C. The structures of the resulting manganese oxides were characterized by a combination of XRD, FE-SEM, TEM and EDS. It was found that the fine hierarchical structures of the biological templates down to the nanometer scale were faithfully duplicated, and the duplication was positive. A mechanism for the positive replication is proposed and discussed in terms of the effects of the sonochemical reaction as well as the surface modification prior to the sonochemical reaction. The same sonochemical method can be extended to the duplication of intricate hierarchical structures of other biological forms in a large range of metal oxides.