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Peacocks and Butterflies

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posted on May, 29 2012 @ 04:24 PM
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What's in common between these two animals?
Their colour properties are the product of astounding optical nano-structures. BTW, this could also be a good subject for the "Science & Technology" thread!





Closer look:



The wing of a Morpho with its thousands of scales like a giant tiled roof. There are outer and inner (ground) scales. The inner ones generate the blue but both contribute to the overall optical performance





To say that Morpho bright colours are from iridescence is a deceptive simplification for Morphos are triumphs of optical engineering.

Their wings are intensely bright with pure colour. Most importantly for long distance recognition, the intensity and colour is the same over a range of viewing angles and the light is polarized.

Simple interference from a single or multiple layers cannot achieve this. Look at a soap bubble or an oil film – its colours are not very bright nor pure and they alter with viewing direction.


How does Morpho do it?

See here for the scientific explanations.




A courtship fan of vivid greens and blues, subtle browns, blues, transfixing 'eyes'. Iridescence? Not really, this is not the iridescence of clouds or oily puddles or of soap bubbles. Their colours are transient, mostly pastel hued and shift with angle of eye and sun. A peacock's display is electrically bright with colours almost constant from all directions.





The bright blue eye looks part of a tufted carpet pattern. A feather main stem crosses the eye and barbs project symmetrically outwards from it. Along each barb are rows of tiny hair-like barbules and the colour source is within them.


Eyesight alone fails beyond this magnification. So, what's the look of electron microscopy?

See here




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