The colors of the Blue Morpho's wing are generated by nanometer-sized structures on the wing's scales. In this image, light reflected from the scales creates the Morpho's characteristic iridescent blue color.
The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-counterfeit technologies for currency.
• SIZE: Each scale is about 70x200 µm.
• IMAGING TOOL: Optical microscope
- Nanometer-sized things are very small, and often behave differently than larger things do.
- Nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nanoengineering lead to new knowledge and innovations that weren't possible before.
The creator listed above has made this image available to NISE Network partners for non-profit educational use only. Uses may include but are not limited to reproduction and distribution of copies, creation of derivative works, and combination with other assets to create exhibitions, programs, publications, research, and websites.