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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 19, Iss. 24 — Nov. 21, 2011
  • pp: 24061–24066

Refractive index and dispersion of butterfly chitin and bird keratin measured by polarizing interference microscopy

Hein L. Leertouwer, Bodo D. Wilts, and Doekele G. Stavenga  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 19, Issue 24, pp. 24061-24066 (2011)

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Using Jamin-Lebedeff interference microscopy, we measured the wavelength dependence of the refractive index of butterfly wing scales and bird feathers. The refractive index values of the glass scales of the butterfly Graphium sarpedon are, at wavelengths 400, 500 and 600 nm, 1.572, 1.552 and 1.541, and those of the feather barbules of the white goose Anas anas domestica are 1.569, 1.556 and 1.548, respectively. The dispersion spectra of the chitin in the butterfly scales and the keratin in the bird barbules are well described by the Cauchy equation n(λ) = A + B/λ2, with A = 1.517 and B = 8.80·103 nm2 for the butterfly chitin and A = 1.532 and B = 5.89·103 nm2 for the bird keratin.

© 2011 OSA

OCIS Codes
(160.5320) Materials : Photorefractive materials
(170.1420) Medical optics and biotechnology : Biology
(180.0180) Microscopy : Microscopy
(160.1435) Materials : Biomaterials

ToC Category:

Original Manuscript: September 7, 2011
Revised Manuscript: November 4, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: November 4, 2011
Published: November 10, 2011

Virtual Issues
Vol. 7, Iss. 1 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Hein L. Leertouwer, Bodo D. Wilts, and Doekele G. Stavenga, "Refractive index and dispersion of butterfly chitin and bird keratin measured by polarizing interference microscopy," Opt. Express 19, 24061-24066 (2011)

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