Navigation Links
What scientists know about jewel beetle shimmer
Date:7/23/2009

"Jewel beetles" are widely known for their glossy external skeletons that appear to change colors as the angle of view changes. Now they may be known for something else--providing a blueprint for materials that reflect light rather than absorbing it to produce colors.

Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta recently discovered jewel beetles change color because of the light-reflecting properties of the cells that make up their external skeletons, not because of unique, light-absorbing properties in their pigment. They say the finding could be important for industries such as car manufacturers that look to reflective light paints for automobiles.

The journal Science reports the finding in its July 24 issue. The National Science Foundation supports the research.

"The Chrysina gloriosa beetle reflects a green light," said lead researcher Mohan Srinivasarao with Georgia Tech's School of Polymer, Textile & Fiber Engineering. "This has been known for about 100 years, but we've determined the colors we see result from the beetle's physical structure rather than its biology."

When light hits a surface that's difficult to see through, the surface either scatters, absorbs or reflects the light to produce colors. In the case of the jewel beetle's external skeleton, its five, six and seven sided cells spontaneously arrange themselves to reflect light at certain wavelengths that produce green, yellow and red colors.

Srinivasarao postulates that beetle cells form similar to a certain kind of liquid crystal called a 'cholesteric' liquid crystal whose free surface has cone-like structures and that has a helical arrangement of molecules.

Research suggests the cells come from spontaneous arrangement of glucose-like particles called chitin molecules that form as cones like those in a cholesteric liquid crystal. When these cones solidify, they preserve their structures and produce colors as light hits them from different angles.

The beetle's structure also forms helices similar to a cholesteric liquid crystal in that its straight cells sit on or are used to form the curved structure of its external skeleton. Research shows that when the pitch of the helix of cholesteric liquid crystals is close to the wavelength of visible light, they reflect light with specific wavelengths, leading to brilliant metallic colors.

"It's stunning how similar the two things are," said Srinivasarao.

Miniature optical devices and photonics such as those envisioned for microlasers and implantable medical sensors could benefit from the finding. Scientists already are studying ways to commercialize and apply materials that have properties similar to jewel beetles.

In one case, researchers in New Zealand are studying beetles to produce a thin, solid mineral, magnesium oxide, which can be ground into flakes and potentially used as a currency security measure.

Car companies could use the materials to paint automobiles that change color depending on a person's angle of view. More uses could include decorative paints and use on any surface requiring light reflection without light absorption.

Srinivasarao says he doesn't completely understand all the optical properties and behavior of light as it interacts with the beetle's external skeleton. He says a lot more work needs to be done, but it is something he and his team are pursuing.


'/>"/>

Contact: Bobbie Mixon
bmixon@nsf.gov
703-292-8070
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
2. Scientists show that mitochondrial DNA variants are linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes
3. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
4. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
5. Male elephants get photo IDs from scientists
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Muscle mass: Scientists identify novel mode of transcriptional regulation during myogenesis
8. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop nanogels that enable controlled delivery of carbohydrate drugs
9. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
10. Scientists tackle mystery mountain illness
11. T. rex quicker than Becks, say scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
What scientists know about jewel beetle shimmer
(Date:1/28/2016)... 28, 2016 Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ), a leading ... second quarter ended December 31, 2015. --> ... fiscal 2016 increased 2 percent compared to the comparable quarter last ... fiscal 2016 was $35.0 million, or $0.93 per diluted share. ... for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew 9 percent over ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... 2016 http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ... the  "Global Behavioral Biometric Market 2016-2020" ... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced the ... Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering. ... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... 2016   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based ... clinical research, is pleased to announce the attainment of ... the result of the company,s laser focus on (and ... , it,s comprehensive, easy-to-use and highly affordable cloud-based technology ... Key MedNet growth achievements in 2015 include: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... NEW YORK , February 4, 2016 ... (OTCQB: QBIO), a biotechnology acceleration company is pleased to provide ... --> --> Over the last 3 months ... note and securities purchase agreements exceeding $1,000,000. As a result, ... under our Mannin Research Inc. license agreement and expect that ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016  Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: ... the fostering and monetization of intellectual property, today provided ... Uniden in the Northern District of Texas ... forward.  Inter Partes Re-examination ("IPR") ... Patent Office.  The IPR was initiated on only certain ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 04, 2016 , ... ... (AI) and leading supplier of Semantic Graph Database technology has been recognized As ... Products ” by Corporate America Magazine. , “At Corporate America, it’s our priority ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... Many of the engineers at FireflySci, Inc. have ... sets them apart from other cuvette manufacturers is their supercharged customer service and their ... top of this steady flow of inside information, they have recently revamped their manufacturing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: