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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2008 May;77(5 Pt 1):050904. Epub 2008 May 29.

Discovery of a diamond-based photonic crystal structure in beetle scales.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Utah, 315 South 1400 East, HEB Room 2020, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA.


We investigated the photonic crystal structure inside iridescent scales of the weevil Lamprocyphus augustus. By combining a high-resolution structure analysis technique based on sequential focused ion beam milling and scanning electron microscopy imaging with theoretical modeling and photonic band-structure calculations, we discovered a natural three-dimensional photonic structure with a diamond-based crystal lattice operating at visible wavelengths. Moreover, we found that within individual scales, the diamond-based structure is assembled in the form of differently oriented single-crystalline micrometer-sized pixels with only selected lattice planes facing the scales' top surface. A comparison of results obtained from optical microreflectance measurements with photonic band-structure calculations reveals that it is this sophisticated microassembly of the diamond-based crystal lattice that lends Lamprocyphus augustus its macroscopically near angle-independent green coloration.

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