Yvonne Carts-Powell

All the Glitters is Not Au

In Science, writing on April 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm
device measures the reflectivity of a gold-colored beetle

Credit: University of Costa Rica

If I want to color something gold, I reach for a chemical pigmented spraypaint — or possibly for gold leaf. But a beetle from Costa Rica gives the appearance of being gold using a diffraction grating built into the layers of it’s shell.

Oddly enough, being bright allows the beetle to blend in with it’s surroundings: amid the rainforest, it reflects light a lot like a drop of water.

Read more in my story at Optics & Photonics News: Metallic Beetles May Inform Nanoengineering.

The actual paper is available in open-access journal: Optical Materials Express at Visible light reflection spectra from cuticle layered materials

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