Roaming of Materials Scientists in Biology: Structural Colours of Butterfly Wings

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Abstract

The photonic nanoarchitectures occurring in the wing scales of Lycaenid butterflies were investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and UV-VIS spectroscopy. We found that the males of all the nine investigated species possess photonic nanoarchitectures built according to the same general “plan”, but each species exhibits species-specific features which results in species-specific colours reproduced generation by generation with a high degree of accuracy.

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