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Proceedings Paper

Plant tissue optics: micro- and nanostructures
Author(s): David W. Lee
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Paper Abstract

Plants have evolved unusual tissue optical properties, not surprising as creatures of light. These are astonishingly sophisticated, involving both micro- and nanostructures. Microstructures refract, scatter, and channel light in plant tissues, to produce concentrations and gradients of light within, and to remove undesired portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Nanostructures use the different refractive indices of both cellulosic walls and bi-lipid membranes to interfere with light, multiple layers producing intense constructive coloration and reduced fluxes within tissues. In a tropical sedge now under analysis, structures may include silica. Recently discovered surface diffraction gratings produce strong directionally sensitive coloration that assist in pollinator visitation. Although some of these properties have obvious applications, most await appreciation by creative scientists to produce new useful devices.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 August 2009
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7401, Biomimetics and Bioinspiration, 740104 (21 August 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.826085
Show Author Affiliations
David W. Lee, Florida International Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7401:
Biomimetics and Bioinspiration
Raul J. Martin-Palma; Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Editor(s)

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