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Interface Focus. 2012 Oct 6;2(5):681-7. doi: 10.1098/rsfs.2011.0082. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

Iridescence and spectral filtering of the gyroid-type photonic crystals in Parides sesostris wing scales.

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Computational Physics, Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials , University of Groningen , 9747 AG Groningen , The Netherlands.


The cover scales on the wing of the Emerald-patched Cattleheart butterfly, Parides sesostris, contain gyroid-type biological photonic crystals that brightly reflect green light. A pigment, which absorbs maximally at approximately 395 nm, is immersed predominantly throughout the elaborate upper lamina. This pigment acts as a long-pass filter shaping the reflectance spectrum of the underlying photonic crystals. The additional effect of the filtering is that the spatial distribution of the scale reflectance is approximately angle-independent, leading to a stable wing pattern contrast. The spectral tuning of the original reflectance is verified by photonic band structure modelling.


Papilionidae; biomaterials; iridescence; optical filtering; photonic crystal

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