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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 48, Iss. 21 — Jul. 20, 2009
  • pp: 4177–4190

Detailed electromagnetic simulation for the structural color of butterfly wings

R. Todd Lee and Glenn S. Smith  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 48, Issue 21, pp. 4177-4190 (2009)

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Many species of butterflies exhibit interesting optical phenomena due to structural color. The physical reason for this color is subwavelength features on the surface of a single scale. The exposed surface of a scale is covered with a ridge structure. The fully three-dimensional, periodic, finite-difference time- domain method is used to create a detailed electromagnetic model of a generic ridge. A novel method for presenting the three-dimensional observed color pattern is developed. Using these tools, the change in color that is a result of varying individual features of the scale is explored. Computational models are developed that are similar to three butterflies: Morpho rhetenor, Troides magellanus, and Ancyluris meliboeus.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(170.1420) Medical optics and biotechnology : Biology
(330.1690) Vision, color, and visual optics : Color

ToC Category:
Vision, Color, and Visual Optics

Original Manuscript: March 24, 2009
Revised Manuscript: June 22, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: June 22, 2009
Published: July 14, 2009

Virtual Issues
Vol. 4, Iss. 9 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics
July 17, 2009 Spotlight on Optics

R. Todd Lee and Glenn S. Smith, "Detailed electromagnetic simulation for the structural color of butterfly wings," Appl. Opt. 48, 4177-4190 (2009)

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