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Optical Materials Express

Optical Materials Express

  • Editor: David J. Hagan
  • Vol. 3, Iss. 8 — Aug. 1, 2013
  • pp: 1087–1092

Iridescence and nano-structure differences in Papilio butterflies

H. L. Tam, K. W. Cheah, David T. P. Goh, and Joseph K. L. Goh  »View Author Affiliations

Optical Materials Express, Vol. 3, Issue 8, pp. 1087-1092 (2013)

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The nano-photonic structures on the wings of three Papilionidae butterflies, Papilio blumei, Papilio ulysses and Papilio peranthus, were investigated. It was observed that the photonic structure is multi-layer with alternate air and cuticle layers forming one-dimensional photonic crystal. The multi-layer structures of the three butterflies differ subtly but are sufficient to account for the differences in their iridescence. The subtleness is more obvious in their polarized reflection results. We performed the simulation of polarized reflection using characteristic matrix method with parameters obtained from SEM images of butterfly wing scales’ cross-section. The simulated reflection spectra are matched with the experimental spectra to derive the effective refractive index of the air lamina in the butterfly wing scales. It shows that through varying the optical thickness and periodicities in air/cuticle bilayer stacks, the iridescent color of these three Papilionidae butterflies appear different. The result lays the foundation for mimicking the photonic structures of these butterflies.

© 2013 OSA

OCIS Codes
(350.4238) Other areas of optics : Nanophotonics and photonic crystals
(160.5298) Materials : Photonic crystals

ToC Category:
Photonic Crystals

Original Manuscript: March 18, 2013
Revised Manuscript: July 6, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: July 9, 2013
Published: July 17, 2013

H. L. Tam, K. W. Cheah, David T. P. Goh, and Joseph K. L. Goh, "Iridescence and nano-structure differences in Papilio butterflies," Opt. Mater. Express 3, 1087-1092 (2013)

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