OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 33, Iss. 28 — Oct. 1, 1994
  • pp: 6642–6647

Insect thin films as solar collectors

Bradley D. Heilman and loannis N. Miaoulis  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 33, Issue 28, pp. 6642-6647 (1994)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (795 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



A numerical method for simulation of microscale radiation effects in insect thin-film structures is described. Accounting for solar beam and diffuse radiation, the model calculates the reflectivity and emissivity of such structures. A case study examines microscale radiation effects in butterfuly wings, and results reveal a new function of these multilayer thin films: thermal regulation. For film thicknesses of the order of 0.10 μm, solar absorption levels vary by as much as 25% with small changes in film thickness; for certain existing structures, absorption levels reach 96%., This is attributed to the spectral distribution of the reflected radiation, which consists of a singular reflectance peak within the solar spectrum.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: November 19, 1993
Revised Manuscript: March 3, 1994
Published: October 1, 1994

Bradley D. Heilman and loannis N. Miaoulis, "Insect thin films as solar collectors," Appl. Opt. 33, 6642-6647 (1994)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. T. D. Schultz, N. F. Hadley, “Structural colors of tiger beetles and their role in heat transfer through the integument,” Physiol. Zool. 60, 737–745 (1987).
  2. C. W. Mason, “Structural colours in insects. II. Iridescent colors,” J. Phys. Chem. 31, 1856–1872 (1927). [CrossRef]
  3. H. Ghiradella, “Light and color on the wing: structural colors in butterflies and moths,” Appl. Opt. 30, 3492–3500 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. H. E. Hinton, G. M. Jarman, “Physiological colour change in the elytra of the Hercules bettle, Dynastes Hercules,” J. Insect Physiol. 19, 533–539 (1973). [CrossRef]
  5. P. Y. Wong, C. K. Hess, I. N. Miaoulis, “Thermal radiation modeling in multilayer thin film structures,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer 35, 3313–3321 (1992). [CrossRef]
  6. I. M. Miaoulis, B. D. Heilman, “Multilayer thin film structures in butterflies: a thermal regulation mechanism,” submitted to J. Theor. Biol.
  7. J. S. Hseieh, Solar Energy Engineering (Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1986), Chap. 3.
  8. A. A. M. Sayigh, Solar Energy Engineering (Academic, New York, 1977).
  9. H. Evans, Insect Biology (Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1984), Chap. 3.
  10. M. Rockstein, The Physiology of Insecta (Academic, New York, 1974).
  11. T. D. Schultz, M. A. Rankin, “The ultrastructure of the epicuticular interference reflectors of tiger beetles (Cincindela),” J. Exp. Biol. 117, 87–110 (1985).
  12. J. Huxley, “The basis of structural colour variation in two species of Papilio,” J. Entomol. Ser. A 50, 9–22 (1975). [CrossRef]
  13. L. T. Wasserthal, “The role of butterfly wings in the regulation of body temperature,” J. Insect Physiol. 21, 1921–1930 (1975). [CrossRef]
  14. O. S. Heavens, Optical Properties of Thin Solid Films (Butterworth, Washington, D.C., 1955), pp. 46–95.
  15. F. P. Incropera, D. P. DeWitt, Introduction to Heat Transfer (Wiley, New York, 1985), pp. 530–535.
  16. Measurements were taken by HunterLab, Reston, Va 22090.
  17. H. Ghiradella, “Structure of iridescent lepidopteran scales: variations on several themes,” Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 77, 637–345 (1984).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited