F.E.M.M.E.S Connect Capstone 2024

The Solomon Group conducted an outreach session with middle-school girls during F.E.M.M.E.S. Connect Capstone. The event was organized in March 2024 by U-M Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). During the “Colorful Crystal Crafts” session, the group introduced the science of structural color based on colloidal self-assembly.

We started with making keychains by pipetting colloidal suspensions into their chosen shapes on acrylic keychains. The participants were able to choose their own colors based on the particle sizes. The suspensions were then let dry to induce crystallization and produce structural color. The keychains were taken home by the participants as souvenirs. 

Concepts about self-assembly of microspheres and the science of colors based on pigments vs. structural color were also introduced. Some examples were drawn from nature, such as Morpho butterflies, peacock feathers and beetles.

From Women in Science and Engineering (WISE): F.E.M.M.E.S. Connect is a program for middle school students to cultivate excitement about STEM, build leadership and communication skills, and explore STEM-related careers. Like other F.E.M.M.E.S. programs, Connect supports underrepresented groups in STEM, particularly women+.