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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2006 Apr;73(4 Pt 1):041905. Epub 2006 Apr 7.

Spectral filtering of visible light by the cuticle of metallic woodboring beetles and microfabrication of a matching bioinspired material.

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Laboratoire de Physique du Solide, Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix, rue de Bruxelles 61, B-5000 Namur, Belgium.


Samples of the cuticle taken from the body of Buprestidae Chrysochroa vittata have been studied by scanning electron microscopy and optical reflectance measurements, related to numerical simulations. The cause of the metallic coloration of the body of these insects is determined to be the structure of the hard carapace constructed as a stack of thin chitin layers separated by very thin irregular air gaps. In particular the change of color as a function of the observation angle is elucidated in terms of an infinite photonic-crystal model, confirmed by finite multilayer calculations. These mechanisms are used to develop an artificial bioinspired multilayer system which reproduces the visual effects provided by the insect surface.

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