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Watch a laser printer make colors without ink

Pigments aren’t the only way nature colors our world. Everything from beetles’ exoskeletons to peacocks' feathers have tiny arrays of precisely shaped objects on their surfaces that influence how light reflects off, creating vibrant blues, greens, and yellows. Researchers can reproduce these “structural” colors as well, but the techniques are hard to mass produce. Now, researchers report today in Science Advances that they’ve done just that using a laser printer to pattern arrays of tiny germanium-topped plastic pillars to create a palette of browns, reds, and blues. The new technique can’t produce the whole rainbow yet, but further improvements are likely coming. Watch the process at work in the video above.