An update is provided on progress resulting from research programs supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) in biomimetics. The goal of these programs remains constant: to obtain significant improvements in aerospace materials and systems through the understanding and description of the evolutionarily-optimized structure and function of biological systems. The programs fall into three general categories: Biomimetic Materials Design, Biomimetic Processing, and Biomimetic Precision Sensing. Biomimetic material design efforts have focused on new concepts for the design of advanced composites with optimized mechanical properties to weight ratios, by studying the constituent properties, percentage, distribution, morphology, and contribution in biological materials. Types of biological materials under AFOSR-funded study include compact bone, tendon, and mollusk shells. Biomimetic processing programs have addressed biopolymer-mediated growth mechanisms of inorganic crystals with potential for highly selective control of electro-optical and electromagnetic properties, and also explored porous proteins as templates for nanolithography. Biomimetic precision sensing programs have addressed receptor composition and transduction mechanisms for auditory sensing in cochlea, and are most recently investigating receptor composition and transduction mechanisms for infrared sensing in snakes. Future considerations for research programs include better understanding of mechanisms involved in growth of biological materials in order to understand, describe, and more effectively mimic the complexities of their composition.

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