Morpho butterflies living in Central and South America are well-known for their structural-colored blue wings. The blue coloring originates from the interaction of light with nano-sized dielectric structures that are equipped on the external surface of scales covering over their wings. The high-accuracy nonstandard finite-difference time domain (NS-FDTD) method is used to investigate the reflection characterization from the nanostructures. In the NS-FDTD calculation, a computational model is built to mimic the actual tree-like multilayered structures wherever possible using the hyperbolic tangent functions. It is generally known that both multilayer interference and diffraction grating phenomena can occur when light enters the nano-sized multilayered structure. To answer the question that which phenomenon is mainly responsible for the blue coloring, the NS-FDTD calculation is performed under various incidence angles at wavelengths from 360 to 500 nm. The calculated results at one incident wavelength under different incidence angles are visualized in a two-dimensional mapping image, where horizontal and vertical axes are incidence and reflection angles, respectively. The images demonstrate a remarkable transition from a ring-like pattern at shorter wavelengths to a retro-reflection pattern at longer wavelengths. To clarify the origin of the pattern transition, the model is separated into several simpler parts and compared their mapping images with the theoretical diffraction calculations. It can be concluded that the blue coloring at longer wavelengths is mainly caused by the cooperation of multilayer interference and retro-reflection while the effect of diffraction grating is predominant at shorter wavelengths.
Date Published: 1 March 2017
PDF: 11 pages
J. Nanophoton. 11(4) 043503 doi: 10.1117/1.JNP.11.043503
Published in: Journal of Nanophotonics Volume 11, Issue 4
Show Author Affiliations
, Nanjing Research Institute of Electronic Engineering (China)