Navigation Links
From butterflies' wings to bank notes -- how nature's colors could cut bank fraud
Date:5/30/2010

Scientists have discovered a way of mimicking the stunningly bright and beautiful colours found on the wings of tropical butterflies. The findings could have important applications in the security printing industry, helping to make bank notes and credit cards harder to forge.

The striking iridescent colours displayed on beetles, butterflies and other insects have long fascinated both physicists and biologists, but mimicking nature's most colourful, eye-catching surfaces has proved elusive.

This is partly because rather than relying on pigments, these colours are produced by light bouncing off microscopic structures on the insects' wings.

Mathias Kolle, working with Professor Ullrich Steiner and Professor Jeremy Baumberg of the University of Cambridge, studied the Indonesian Peacock or Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio blumei), whose wing scales are composed of intricate, microscopic structures that resemble the inside of an egg carton.

Because of their shape and the fact that they are made up of alternate layers of cuticle and air, these structures produce intense colours.

Using a combination of nanofabrication procedures including self-assembly and atomic layer deposition Kolle and his colleagues made structurally identical copies of the butterfly scales, and these copies produced the same vivid colours as the butterflies' wings.

According to Kolle: "We have unlocked one of nature's secrets and combined this knowledge with state-of-the-art nanofabrication to mimic the intricate optical designs found in nature."

"Although nature is better at self-assembly than we are, we have the advantage that we can use a wider variety of artificial, custom-made materials to optimise our optical structures."

As well as helping scientists gain a deeper understanding of the physics behind these butterflies' colours, being able to mimic them has promising applications in security printing.

"These artificial structures could be used to encrypt information in optical signatures on banknotes or other valuable items to protect them against forgery. We still need to refine our system but in future we could see structures based on butterflies wings shining from a 10 note or even our passports," he says.

Intriguingly, the butterfly may also be using its colours to encrypt itself appearing one colour to potential mates but another colour to predators.

Kolle explains: "The shiny green patches on this tropical butterfly's wing scales are a stunning example of nature's ingenuity in optical design. Seen with the right optical equipment these patches appear bright blue, but with the naked eye they appear green.

"This could explain why the butterfly has evolved this way of producing colour. If its eyes see fellow butterflies as bright blue, while predators only see green patches in a green tropical environment, then it can hide from predators at the same time as remaining visible to members of its own species."

The results are published today in Nature Nanotechnology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Becky Allen
becky.allen@admin.cam.ac.uk
44-750-088-3644
University of Cambridge
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. As monarch butterflies journey north, gardeners can help protect species, researcher says
2. Now butterflies are also being counted in China, Australia and Israel
3. Hind wings help butterflies make swift turns to evade predators, study finds
4. Monarch butterflies help explain why parasites harm hosts
5. Smell-wars between butterflies and ants
6. Adult Star Katie Michaels Attending NHL Game 7 Red Wings vs. Coyotes
7. Study finds that long-distance migration shapes butterfly wings
8. From fruit fly wings to heart failure -- why Not(ch)?
9. £3.2m ($5.4 million) research project to capture brilliance of butterfly wings
10. Wings that waggle could cut aircraft emissions by 20 percent
11. Sexy or repulsive? Butterfly wings can be both to mates and predators
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
From butterflies' wings to bank notes -- how nature's colors could cut bank fraud
(Date:1/31/2017)... , Jan. 31, 2017  Spero Therapeutics, ... therapies for the treatment of bacterial infections, today ... of antibacterial candidates from Pro Bono Bio Ltd ... prevalence of multi-drug resistant forms of Gram-negative bacteria.  ... Anti Infectives Ltd, a PBB group company. ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... 24, 2017 Biopharm Reports has carried ... use of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). This ... profiled current practices, developments, trends and end-user plans ... growth and opportunities. These areas include growth in ... needs and innovation requirements, hyphenated NMR techniques, main ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 19, 2017 Sensory Inc ., ... security for consumer electronics, and i ... and cybersecurity solutions, today announced a global partnership ... institutions worldwide to bolster security of data sensitive ... user authentication platforms they offer, innerCore now offers ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... 2017 ... share data, unaudited)Three Months Ended December 31,Twelve Months Ended ... $           ... 89026%Aldurazyme Net Product Revenue 3539(10)%9498(4)%Kuvan ... Product Revenue  756025%297303(2)%Vimizim Net Product ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... -- Seattle,s upscale Capitol Hill neighborhood, with its swanky shops, parks and ... lice treatment salon to set up shop. But there,s ... French bistro on E Madison Ave, and CEO Maria ... lice clinic, we pride ourselves on being a destination for ... the stigma associated with lice. Everyone can get lice – ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... studies (such as insulin, cortisol, CRP, adiponectin, uric acid, and/or other biomarkers or ... Salivary Insulin Assay from Salimetrics’ SalivaLab , the relationship between insulin and ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... CARDIFF, UK (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 ... ... for optics and photonics , have been named Fellows of the Society this ... and technical contributions in the multidisciplinary fields of optics, photonics, and imaging as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: