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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 17, Iss. 18 — Aug. 31, 2009
  • pp: 16183–16191

Structural color change in longhorn beetles Tmesisternus isabellae

F. Liu, B. Q. Dong, X. H. Liu, Y. M. Zheng, and J. Zi  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 17, Issue 18, pp. 16183-16191 (2009)

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The elytra of longhorn beetles Tmesisternus isabellae show iridescent golden coloration which stems from long and flat scales imbricated densely on the elytral surface. The scales are able to change coloration from golden in the dry state to red in the wet state with water absorption. Structural characterizations revealed that the iridescent coloration of scales originates from a multilayer in the scale interior. Measurements on both water contact angle and chemical composition indicated that scales are hydrophilic. The change in scale coloration to red in the wet state is due to both the swelling of the multilayer period and water infiltration. The unraveled structural color change and its strategy may not only help us get insight into the biological functionality of structural coloration but also inspire the designs of artificial photonic devices.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(310.6860) Thin films : Thin films, optical properties
(330.1690) Vision, color, and visual optics : Color

ToC Category:
Thin Films

Original Manuscript: May 22, 2009
Revised Manuscript: July 25, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: July 29, 2009
Published: August 27, 2009

Virtual Issues
Vol. 4, Iss. 10 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

F. Liu, B. Q. Dong, X. H. Liu, Y. M. Zheng, and J. Zi, "Structural color change in longhorn beetles Tmesisternus isabellae," Opt. Express 17, 16183-16191 (2009)

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