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Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics


  • Editors: Andrew Dunn and Anthony Durkin
  • Vol. 8, Iss. 7 — Aug. 1, 2013

Theoretical and experimental analysis of the structural pattern responsible for the iridescence of Morpho butterflies

Radwanul Hasan Siddique, Silvia Diewald, Juerg Leuthold, and Hendrik Hölscher  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 21, Issue 12, pp. 14351-14361 (2013)

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Morpho butterflies are well-known for their iridescence originating from nanostructures in the scales of their wings. These optical active structures integrate three design principles leading to the wide angle reflection: alternating lamellae layers, “Christmas tree” like shape, and offsets between neighboring ridges. We study their individual effects rigorously by 2D FEM simulations of the nanostructures of the Morpho sulkowskyi butterfly and show how the reflection spectrum can be controlled by the design of the nanostructures. The width of the spectrum is broad (≈ 90 nm) for alternating lamellae layers (or “brunches”) of the structure while the “Christmas tree” pattern together with a height offset between neighboring ridges reduces the directionality of the reflectance. Furthermore, we fabricated the simulated structures by e-beam lithography. The resulting samples mimicked all important optical features of the original Morpho butterfly scales and feature the intense blue iridescence with a wide angular range of reflection.

© 2013 OSA

OCIS Codes
(000.1430) General : Biology and medicine
(330.0330) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision, color, and visual optics
(350.3950) Other areas of optics : Micro-optics
(050.1755) Diffraction and gratings : Computational electromagnetic methods
(350.4238) Other areas of optics : Nanophotonics and photonic crystals
(220.4241) Optical design and fabrication : Nanostructure fabrication
(310.6628) Thin films : Subwavelength structures, nanostructures

ToC Category:
Diffraction and Gratings

Original Manuscript: March 27, 2013
Revised Manuscript: May 24, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: May 24, 2013
Published: June 10, 2013

Virtual Issues
Vol. 8, Iss. 7 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Radwanul Hasan Siddique, Silvia Diewald, Juerg Leuthold, and Hendrik Hölscher, "Theoretical and experimental analysis of the structural pattern responsible for the iridescence of Morpho butterflies," Opt. Express 21, 14351-14361 (2013)

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