The wings of the butterfly Callophrys rubi have served as a template for making 3D silica photonic crystals for non-linear optics applications.
Photonic crystals are usually two-dimensional and made using technology adopted from the semiconductor industry. However, nature’s 3D analogs of such crystals found in the pattern of scales on a butterfly’s wing, for instance, offer inspiration for making a whole new range of such structures synthetically.
This is the first example of an inorganic gyroid structure with a unit cell size of photonic length scale. Given its 3D and chiral nature, this structure opens up the possibility, not only of magneto-optic effects, but also of generating chiral metamaterials with yet unknown properties and applications.
- Inorganic chiral 3-D photonic crystals with bicontinuous gyroid structure replicated from butterfly wing scales
C. Mille, E. C. Tyrode, R. W. Corkery,
Chem. Commun. 2011.