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January 3 - Febuary 28, 2021

Meeting Abstract

S7-11  Wed Jan 6 18:00 - 18:30  Rainbows in nature: disordered photonic structures tuned by pigments Wilts, BD; Adolphe Merkle Institute, Fribourg, Switzerland

Controlling light through photonic nanostructures is important for everyday optical components, from spectrometers to data storage and readout. In nature, nanostructured materials produce wavelength-dependent colours that are key for visual communication across animals and act as signals for mates or predators alike. The striking appearance of many animals is obtained by a combination of pigments and nanostructured dielectric material on the order of a few hundreds of nanometres. By changing the morphology of these nanostructures or the composition of pigments, incident light can be manipulated in different ways giving rise to the brilliant displays observed in butterflies, beetles, spiders and birds. The expression of pigments in different areas can play important roles in tuning and altering optical properties. Here, I will show the optical properties of different morphologies found in butterflies and beetles that can range from simple thin films and photonic crystals to structures with (correlated) disorder and show which tricks nature employs to achieve all colours of the rainbow.