Researchers discover how butterfly wings appear bright and colorful

Researchers discover how butterfly wings appear bright and colorful

How are the wings of butterflies so colorful and bright? While it is known that the wings have photonic crystals, which can reflect light of only a particular color, how they are arranged has been a mystery. To find out more about it, a group of physicists in UC San Diego used ptychography, an advanced imaging technique, and the Advanced Photon Source at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois to take a closer look at the internal nanostructure of the tiny "scales" that make up the butterfly wing. They found that the tiny wing structures consist of "highly oriented" photonic crystals. Moreover, the crystals have irregularities that probably enhance light-scattering properties through an effect called light localization. This makes the butterfly wings appear brighter and more colorful.

Read more in Science Daily

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