Physical Review E - SNSMP

Discovery of a diamond-based photonic crystal structure in beetle scales

View publication


We investigated the photonic crystal structure inside iridescent scales of the weevil Lamprocyphus augustus. By combining a high-resolution structure analysis technique based on sequential focused ion beam milling and scanning electron microscopy imaging with theoretical modeling and photonic band-structure calculations, we discovered a natural three-dimensional photonic structure with a diamond-based crystal lattice operating at visible wavelengths. Moreover, we found that within individual scales, the diamond-based structure is assembled in the form of differently oriented single-crystalline micrometer-sized pixels with only selected lattice planes facing the scales' top surface. A comparison of results obtained from optical microreflectance measurements with photonic band-structure calculations reveals that it is this sophisticated microassembly of the diamond-based crystal lattice that lends Lamprocyphus augustus its macroscopically near angle-independent green coloration. © 2008 The American Physical Society.