The overlapping scales on the wing of the Blue Morpho Butterfly contain nanoscale structures that reflect light to create iridescent colors. This scanning electron microscope image shows Morpho wing scales from above.
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: Scanning electron 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.
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