Directionally Controlled Fluorescence Emission in Butterflies

University of Exeter, Exeter, England, United Kingdom
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 12/2005; 310(5751):1151. DOI: 10.1126/science.1116612
Source: PubMed


Recently developed, high-efficiency, light-emitting diodes use two-dimensional photonic crystals to enhance the extraction of otherwise internally trapped light and multilayer reflectors to control the direction of light emission. This work describes the characterization of a naturally evolved light-extraction system on the wing scales of a small group of Papilio butterflies. The efficient extraction of fluorescence from these scales is facilitated by a two-dimensional photonic crystal slab that uses a multilayer to help control emission direction. Its light-extraction function is analogous to that of the light-emitting diode.

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    • "Biofluorescence has been shown to enhance signaling in the mantis shrimp, Lysiosquillina glabriuscula, a species identified to have a complex system of color visualization [5]. Additionally, there have been reports of fluorescence signaling in butterflies [8], parrots [9], spiders [10], and flowers [11], as well as in a deep-sea siphonophore [12]. "
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    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e83259. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0083259 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "The former is caused by the exchange of energies between light and the electrons of pigments, while the latter can be explained as a pure physical interaction between light and various spatial inhomogeneity [17] . The green scales of butterfly Papilio nireus have a layer of air-filled alveoli, whose axis is perpendicular to the scale surface [13] . Recently, studies on butterfly wings show that some microstructures on its wings surface are effective solar collectors [18] or blocks [19] . "
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    • "No directional correlation is found in the spherule arrangement, implying that the peroxisomes distribution avoids both long-range and short-range orders (see Fig. 5(a)). This information suggests that the peroxisomes arrangement cannot drive the emitted light preferentially normal to the cuticle surface as ordered photonic crystals can plausibly do [15]. The multiple scattering of light in this strongly disordered structure is primarily expected to evenly diffuse the emitted light in all directions. "
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