Structural colors from Morpho peleides butterfly wing scales

  • Ding Y
  • Xu S
  • Wang Z
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A male Morpho peleides butterfly wing is decorated by two types of scales, cover and ground scales. We have studied the optical properties of each type of scales in conjunction with the structural information provided by cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy and computer simulation. The shining blue color is mainly from the Bragg reflection of the one-dimensional photonic structure, e.g., the shelf structure packed regularly in each ridges on cover scales. A thin-film-like interference effect from the base plate of the cover scale enhances such blue color and further gives extra reflection peaks in the infrared and ultraviolet regions. The analogy in the spectra acquired from the original wing and that from the cover scales suggests that the cover scales take a dominant role in its structural color. This study provides insight of using the biotemplates for fabricating smart photonic structures.

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