Play with light and color is ubiquitous in nature. Over the course of evolution, plants and animals have evolved bright colors, metallic reflections, and intricate patterns that can be used to draw attention to themselves or to deceive predators. To do this, they often use pigments – particles that selectively absorb light. But there is another mechanism. Large green metallic flies, for example, do not have any pigment on their external support structure. Same for the morpho butterfly, roughly Morpho Raynor With their big blue wings as well as golden beetles like Aspidimorpha sanctaecrucis.
Instead of color molecules, these insects have tiny nanostructures on their wings or outer shell that interact with incident rays of light. Due to the wave nature of light, this produces interference and diffraction effects with amazing results: for example, reflection of one wavelength, total reflection except for one wavelength, directional emission of certain colors, the so-called iridescence, where the surface color changes depending on the perspective in a different color, and more So. Analysis of such structures reveals that relatively simple structures can lead to complex optical phenomena.
Accordingly, researchers are looking to nature for inspiration to design new and powerful photonic devices. To do this, they first study the systems that occur there on a large scale in order to understand the basic principles. For example, the shiny metallic green color of the golden fly is due to the structure of its chitinous outer shell, which is characteristic of insects and other arthropods. In the fly, this so-called cuticle consists of a stack of several layers, each a few tens of nanometers thick. Although each layer is transparent on its own, it can still reflect light when packaged. Because if a light wave…
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