Comparative Study of Cicada Wing Nanoscale Surfaces for Species-Linked Molecular Organization Studies

Jessica Roman

Sandia National Laboratories

Numerous natural surfaces have developed micro/nanostructures to enable extraordinary functionality, such as superhydrophobicity, self-cleaning, anti-fogging, and anti-microbial properties. One example are cicada wings, where these properties can vary by species. While the general surface structure of many of these species are known, understanding the evolutionary rationale behind the molecular organization within these nanofeatures and species differences could be vital in the mimicry of their remarkable functional properties. The data presented observes changes in cicada wing functionality, including wettability, bacterial fouling, and antimicrobial properties, through multiple different materials characterization techniques and compares these for two evolutionarily divergent cicada species. The characterization of chemically extracted components using GC/MS, gas chromatography mass spectrometry, revealed various classes of hydrophobic compounds which exposed interesting chemical-feature correlations. We will present chemical distribution patterns observed spatially across the wings utilizing laser-ablation electrospray ionization (LAESI), never before used on water deficient samples.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory managed and operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International, Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-NA0003525.